Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Spring Vegetable Risotto

So at this point I'm sure you are sick of traditional cookout food now that Memorial Day Weekend is over. I bet half of you feel like you could turn into a hot dog or hamburger if you tried hard enough. I'm also pretty sure everyone is feeling a little guilty about those extra drinks they had or that last piece of pie they couldn't say no to, or maybe it's just me. Either way I figured it was time for a healthy recipe with lots of vegetables so we can make up for those guilty feelings people normally experience after a long holiday weekend.

Adapted from: http://www.annies-eats.com/

4 Cups Warm Vegetable Stock
2 Shallots - Diced
3 Cups Leeks (About 2) - Chopped both white & green parts
1 lb Asparagus - Thin Spears cut into 1inch pieces
10oz Frozen Peas - Thawed
1 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Zest
2 Tbsp Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 1/2 Cup Risotto (Arborio Rice)
1 1/2 Tbsp I Can't Believe it's Not Butter for Cooking and Baking
1 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2/3 Cup White Wine
1/3 Cup Mascarpone Cheese
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese plus extra for topping
2 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Pepper
3 Tbsp Chives for topping

I will admit this is a little involved so your best bet is to prep the veggies now so that when you need to start adding them into the risotto everything is ready to go. Your peas should already be thawed, dice your shallot and chop up your leeks. Get your asparagus ready to be blanched as well. Since I had never eaten or cooked with a leek before I actually had to ask the produce person in the grocery store where they were because I wasn't sure what they looked like haha. What I did learn is that they are very dirty so make sure to clean them well before chopping them up. I would suggest soaking them for a few minutes in some warm water.
Heat the olive oil and the I Can't Believe it's Not Butter at the same time in a large pan over medium heat. After the butter has melted, add the shallots and leeks. Cook until tender about 5-7 minutes.
Pour the vegetable broth in a medium sized pan and heat it up until simmering. Reduce it to low and keep the broth warm as you prepare the risotto.
Add the risotto to the pan and cook for 1 minute. Next add the white wine and allow it to simmer for a minute, stirring constantly until almost all of the wine has been absorbed. Once the wine is gone you can begin slowly adding the warm vegetable broth 2/3 of a cup at a time. Stir frequently, be careful not to add another round of broth until the previous broth has been soaked up by the rice.
While the risotto is cooking you can blanch the asparagus in salted boiling water for 5 minutes until slightly tender. When they are done cooking immediately put the asparagus in cold water to stop the cooking process and keep them crisp until it is time to add them into the risotto. Dice them into 1 inch pieces.
When the risotto has cooked for about 15 minutes you can add the peas and pieces of asparagus. Carefully stir everything together. Next you can add the salt, pepper and lemon zest. Conitue cooking the risotto stirring frequently and adding the broth as nedded until the rice is tender. It should take about 30 minutes to have added all 4 cups of broth.
Once it is done cooking you can remove it from the stove and add the lemon juice, Mascarpone and Parmsean cheese. Stir until the cheeses are melted and the risotto is smooth and creamy. Spoon into bowls, top with chives and more Parmsean cheese if desired.

Enjoy!! - Nicole

Linked at: http://www.gooseberrypatch.typepad.com/blog/, http://whipperberry.com/, 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Raspberry Cream Brownies with Chocolate Ganache

Today is a great day!  The sun is shining, it's going to be a perfect 81 degrees and my husband and I are taking off from work and going to the Yankee game with our four daughters. I don't care that they have lost 12 games so far in the month of May or that everyone on the team's batting average is below 300.  They had a great game last night and hopefully they will be winning again today.  I will be wearing my Teixeira shirt and having a good time. 

These were adapted from http://sweetpeaskitchen.com/.  She used a coffee cream which I cannot do because I don't even like the way coffee smells and certainly would never eat it in anything.  So my favorite fruit flavor to go with chocolate is raspberry.  It was an easy substitution.  Anytime I have a recipe I can add Chambord raspberry liquor into I am happy.


For the Brownies:
1/2 cup butter, melted
9 tablespoons hershey's unsweetened cocoa
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

For the Raspberry Filling:
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon chambord raspberry liquor (optional)
2 tablespoons butter softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup raspberries and more for garnish

For Chocolate Ganache:
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter bottom and sides of 8x8 metal baking pan.  Put a long piece of parchment paper in bottom of pan letting parchment extend up the two sides of the pan and overhang slightly on both ends.  Butter the parchment paper.

Melt butter in the microwave and pour into bowl.  Add unsweetened chocolate and vegetable oil.  Stir until smooth.  Add eggs, sugar and vanilla.  Mix until blended. Add flour and baking soda and stir until just combined.

Spread into prepared pan.  Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool.

For the filling, in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix heavy cream, chambord, butter, confectioners sugar and raspberries.  Mix until light and fluffy.  Spread over cooled brownies.

Combine heavy cream and chocolate in microwave safe bowl and microwave for a minute at 50% power.  Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is glossy and smooth.  Cool before spreading over filling.  Let set before cutting into pieces.  Garnish with raspberries. 

This is linked to www.momscrazycooking.blogspot.com

Enjoy!   Susan

Monday, May 23, 2011

Relay for Life - Chocolate Sugar Cookies

This past weekend was Hoboken's Relay for Life to raise money for the American Cancer Society. This is something I feel very strongly about and I have been part of the Bewalder's Believers team for the last 4 years. Our team Captain Alison and one of my fellow team members Dani came over to help me make these cookies. Although the event is over, donations can still be made to our team: Donate to the Hoboken's Relay for Life - Bewalder's Believers!! This was my first time making chocolate sugar cookies, they were the perfect treat with or without frosting to snack on in between walking laps!!

Adapted from http://www.annies-eats.com/

Ingredients for Cookies:
1 1/2 Cup Flour
2/3 Cup Cocoa Powder
2 Eggs
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 Confectioners' Sugar
2 Pinches of Salt
12 Tbsp Unsalted Butter - Softened
Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl (cocoa powder, flour and salt). Whisk them together and set aside. In your mixer bowl combine the softened butter and sugar on a medium speed until fluffy for 2 minutes. Once it is blended add the eggs and vanilla, mix again for another 2 minutes.
On a low speed begin slowly adding the dry ingredients until the dough is well blended and there are no white streaks remaining. Using a spatula take all of the dough out of the bowl and place it in the middle of a big piece of plastic wrap or tin foil. Wrap the dough and place it in the fridge for 2 hours.
Once the dough has become firm you can take it out of the fridge. Preheat the oven to 325 F and line two baking sheets with pieces of parchment paper. On a floured surface roll out the dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick.
Using whatever cookie cutter you have chosen, gently press the cookie cutter into the dough. Place the cookie on the baking sheet, leaving a little room between each cookie. Obvisouly the size of the cookie cutter will determine how many cookies you will make. These were small so it made a ton.
Bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 3-4 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Remember if you need to reuse your baking sheet that they need to cool in between batches or it will alter your baking time. While the cookies are baking or cooling you can make the frosting to decorate them.
Ingredients for Frosting:
2 Cup Confestioners Sugar - Sifted
2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter - Softened
1/4 Tsp Almond Extract
1-2 Tbsp Skim Milk

Beat all ingredients in a bowl until smooth and creamy. This frosting obvisouly starts out as white but you can simply dye it whatever color you'd like to use with edible food coloring. I chose purple since that is the color that represents Relay for Life.

Enjoy!! - Nicole

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lemon Cream Bars

Just in time for the unofficial start of summer next weekend. This is an easy summer dessert to make for barbeques and picnics that everyone will love. I thoroughly enjoy lemon bars so when I came across these I wanted to try this take on them. And also I love baking with condensed milk! I doubled the recipe for our Mother's Day Brunch to make a a few more and them a little thicker.

Adapted from http://thepioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen-blog/


1 can condensed milk
½ cups lemon juice- about 2- 3 lemons
1-½ cup flour
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup brown sugar
⅔ cups butter, melted
1 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Squeeze the juice out of the lemons. Mix together the condensed milk and the lemon juice and set to the side. Mix dry ingredients and melted butter together. Press half the streusel mixture into a lightly greased 9 by 13 pan. Pour the lemon and milk mixture on top. Sprinkle the rest of the streusel on top. Bake for about 25 minutes and let cool before transferring into the refrigerator.

Enjoy K!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Oreo Cream Cheese Brownies

I just can't seem to get enough Oreos.  That's probably the reason why I need to go to the gym every morning.  I got this recipe from annies-eats.com and then as if there were not enough Oreos in the recipe I sprinkled more Oreos over the cream cheese mixture on top.  Perfect!  I made these for our Mother's Day Brunch.       


8 tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped Oreo cookies
8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8" x 8" baking pan with aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. 

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter and sugar.  Bring to a boil whisking frequently.  Boil for 1 minute then remove from heat and seat aside to cool slightly.  In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt.  Whisk together to combine.  Add the eggs to the pan with the butter-sugar mixture and mix until blended.  Mix in milk.  Transfer the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry and mix until incorporated. 

Crush the Oreos and fold into the batter.  Spread the batter into the prepared pan.   To make the cream cheese mixture combine the cream cheese, confectioners sugar and the vanilla extract in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium high speed until well blended and smooth.  Drop the cream cheese mixture over the brownie batter in dollops.  Use the blade of a knife to gently swirl the cream cheese mixture together with the brownie mixture, creating a marble effect.  Sprinkle more crushed oreos over top if desired. 

Don't think your eyes are bad.  This picture is blurry.  Bake for 22-24 minutes.  Transfer pan to rack and let cool completely before slicing and serving.  If you refrigerate them for a few minutes they are easier to cut. 

Enjoy!  Susan

Linked at: http://growingupgabel.com/

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Blueberry Cream Cheese Rolls

I made a double batch of these for our Mother's Day Brunch this year because last year when we had them on Easter they were sooo good we each wanted more than one!! I should tell you ahead of time that the dough needs to rise overnight so this isn't something you can just whip together. I saw this recipe first on the Rachael Ray morning TV show and then she put it in her magazine, I love blueberries so I knew I wanted to give it a whirl. I was nervous that they weren't going to be sweet enough because there isn't much sugar in the dough but when you add the blueberry preserves and cream cheese frosting on top it is the perfect amount of sweetness.

Adapted from: Every Day with Rachael Ray Magazine

Makes 12 Rolls

10oz Jar of Polaner Blueberry Fruit Preserves
4 oz of Cream Cheese - Softened
2 Cups of Confectioners Sugar
2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter - Softened
4 Cups of Flour
1 Egg
1 Package of Active Dry Yeast - 1/4 oz
1/4 Cup Warm Water
1 1/4 Tsp Salt
1 1/4 Cup of Skim Milk plus 2 Tbsp for Frosting
2 Tbsp Sugar plus 1 Tsp for Yeast
Pam Cooking Spray
Combine 1 Tsp of sugar to a package of active dry yeast in a small bowl. Add the warm water, let stand 5 minutes until the yeast has activated and the mixture in the bowl is frothy. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter with the salt and remaining 2 Tbsp of sugar until the mixture is fluffy. Next, beat in the egg, milk and yeast. Slowly add the flour on a low speed, little by little allowing it to be well combined before adding the next increment.
Take a large bowl out and spray the entire inside surface with Pam cooking spray, set aside. On a floured surface, take the dough out of the bowl and knead it for 2 minutes. When you are finished kneading the dough transfer it into the greased bowl and turn it over to coat the entire thing with spray. Cover with foil or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight to let it rise.
The next day when you are ready to bake and eat your rolls preheat the oven to 400 F. Take the dough out of the fridge, and punch the it one time hard with your fist to let all of the excess air out of the bowl. Roll out the dough into a rectangle approximately 12 inches by 16 inches.
Spread the preserves all over the dough, leaving a 2 inch border on all sides. When I went into the jelly section to find the preserves I realized that Polaner carriers multiple flavors of fruit preserves so this recipe could be made with Raspberry, Strawberry or any flavor you'd like not just Blueberry.
Gently grab one end and roll up the dough lengthwise until the whole thing is a closed cylinder. Pinch both of the edges to close to seal the roll. Cut about an inch or so off of each end where there is no preserves.
Using a very sharp knife, make a slice every 1 inch and a half for a roll. DO NOT press down too hard with the knife just use a gentle sawing motion, also DO NOT press down on the dough as you are holding it or you will squish the roll and they will end up misshapen. In a greased 9x13 baking dish, place each roll sliced side down. You should be able to place all 12 in the same pan, don't worry about them touching because they will easily pull apart after they are baked.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until preserves are bubbling and the roll has becomes crisp and golden brown. While the rolls are baking you can make the cream cheese frosting. In a mixing bowl beat the softened ream cheese and 1 cup of the confectioners sugar. Add the milk and then the other cup of sugar until smooth and creamy. When the rolls comes out of the oven let them cool for about 5 minutes. Spread the frosting on top of the warm rolls and serve immediately

Enjoy!! - Nicole

This is linked to www.momscrazycooking.blogspot.com

Friday, May 13, 2011

Double Fudge Oreo Crunch Cookies

I have a thing for Oreos and chocolate.  I eat way too much of both.   I made these cookies to bring to a housewarming party at my niece's house last weekend.  They were made with Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate so they were very dark - but good!  The only problem with these cookies is that you make the batter and then have to refrigerate them for a few hours before baking so if you want cookies fast this isn't the recipe for you. 

Adapted from : http://www.howsweeteats.com/

1 cup butter at room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup crushed Oreo cookies

Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until fluffy.  Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. 

Fold in chocolate chips and crushed oreos. 

Refrigerate dough for 2-4 hours.  When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Roll into balls or scoop with ice cream scooper and set on a baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.  Let cool.  

Enjoy!   Susan

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cucumber Smoothie

Summer is right around the corner and the weather is finally getting nice for more then one day at a a time. I found this smoothie in the Food Network Magazine when I was trying to eat only fresh fruits and veggies for a few days. Its very refreshing and perfect for an after workout snack or a day spent in the sun.

Adapted from Food Network Magazine 50 Smoothie Insert

2 medium seedless cucumber
1 Kiwi
1 cup of ice
1 lime
1/2 cup of water

Peel the cucumber and cut into chunks. Scoop kiwi out of it's skin. Put into Blender. Add the juice of one lime, ice, and water to the blender. Blend until there are no ice chunks left. Feel free to change the ice amount depending on how you like it. More ice makes it slushy and less makes it more liquid. Also if you want it sweeter exchange the kiwi out for 4 tablespoons of honey.

Enjoy Kath!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Bacon and Broccoli Quiche

Happy Mother's Day!!
I've been very blessed to have a wonderful mother and three magnificent grandmas for my entire 29 years, without each and every one of them I do not know who I'd be today. So tomorrow I will be celebrating them. I remember bringing home a small plant for my mom when I was young because every year they'd have a sale in school right before mother's day, making a home made card and giving her a coupon book to cash in to me for various chores. I look forward to the day when my own child will bring me those small tokens of love!!
This recipe is perfect if you are making your wife breakfast in bed with the kids or if you are inviting your own mom or grandma over for Brunch!! I cheated by using refrigerated pie crust but you can make one from scratch if you have enough time and energy.

Adapted from http://www.tasteofhome.com/
1 Sheet Refrigerated Pie Crust
2 Cups Monterey Jack Shredded Cheese
12 Strips of Bacon - Cooked and Crumbled
3 Cups Broccoli - Chopped
1/2 Cup Onion - Diced
3 Eggs
1 1/2 Cups Skim Milk
1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp Butter - Melted
2 Tbsp Flour
1 Tsp Salt
Pam Cooking Spray
Start by preheating the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9 inch pie plate with Pam Spray and gently lie the pie crust on top. Carefully push the dough down into the middle of the pan pressing it into the creases and up on top to the edges. Set aside.
Melt the butter in the microwave on a low power setting for 30 seconds. Whisk together the flour, mayonnaise, butter, salt and eggs in a large bowl. I cook my bacon in a microwave safe dish using paper towels, so if you going to do it that way start heating it up now because it took about 8-10 minutes for all 12 pieces to be crunchy.
Stir the milk into the egg mixture, then add the broccoli and onion. Mix well to combine. At this point I realized I had chosen a bowl that was way to small so I transferred everything into a bigger bowl. Add the shredded cheese and finally the crumbled bacon. Give it a few good stirs so everything is coated with the egg/milk mixture.
Pour the entire bowl into the pie crust. Carefully place it in the oven and bake for 55-60 minutes or until the crust is brown and the quiche has set, a knife inserted into the middle should come out clean. Let the quiche stand for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Enjoy!! - Nicole

Linked at: http://www.gooseberrypatch.typepad.com/blog/, http://eatathomecooks.com/
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