Monday, June 16, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Anyway, I have had some BAD sangria in my life. I am NOT a fan of sweet wines, so a lot of it grosses me out. But this recipe is SO good. No sugar...it's naturally sweet, but not TOO sweet! It's so light and refreshing for summer...a definite must-try! It's quite customizable, too. I've altered it a few times.
White Sangria recipe
1 bottle (750 ml) sauvignon blanc wine or champagne
4 oz. peach schnapps
6 oz. apricot brandy (I couldn't find this, so I used some extra schnapps and regular brandy)
8 oz. pineapple juice (I have replaced this with OJ and OJ/Mango juice before)
2 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
4 oz. fresh squeezed orange juice
1 orange, sliced into rounds
1 small peach, pitted, diced (I replaced this with a mango before - would also be good with a green apple)
2 vanilla beans, split
1 peach, sliced
Several springs of mint for garnish
In a large bowl or pitcher, combine ingredients and let chill for at least one hour. Strain well and serve over plenty of ice. Garnish with peach slices and sprigs of mint.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
"CALIFORNIA ROLL" SALAD
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons rice vinegar* (not seasoned)
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (preferably unhulled*)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped pickled ginger*
4 scallions, cut lengthwise into thin 1-inch strips (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup finely shredded carrot
1 large seedless cucumber (about 1 pound), quartered lengthwise,
cored, and chopped
2 sheets nori (paper-thin sheets of dried seaweed)*
1 avocado (preferably California)
1/4 pound surimi (mock crab legs) if desired, sliced thin
2 teaspoons wasabi (Japanese green horseradish) powder*
1 tablespoon hot water
2 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons ginger juice (squeezed from freshly grated gingerroot)
*available at Asian markets, natural foods stores, and some supermarkets
Into a large saucepan of salted boiling water stir rice and boil
10 minutes. Drain rice in a colander and rinse. Set colander over a kettle of boiling water (rice should not touch water) and steam rice, covered with a kitchen towel and lid, until fluffy and dry, 10 to
15 minutes (check water level in kettle occasionally, adding water if necessary).
While rice is steaming, in a small saucepan bring 1/4 cup vinegar to a boil with sugar and salt, stirring until sugar is dissolved, and remove from heat. In a dry small skillet toast sesame seeds over moderate heat, stirring, until golden and fragrant and transfer to a small bowl.
Transfer rice to a large bowl and stir in vinegar mixture. Cool rice and stir in sesame seeds, remaining 3 tablespoons vinegar, oil, ginger, scallions, carrot, and cucumber. Salad may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring salad to room temperature before proceeding.
Dry-roast nori, 1 sheet at a time, directly above moderate heat (gas or electric burner), holding it at opposite corners and moving it back and forth, until it turns bright green, 30 seconds to 1 minute. With scissors cut nori into thin 2-inch-long strips.
Peel and pit avocado. Quarter avoado and cut crosswise into thin slices. Add avocado to salad with surmimi if using and two thirds of nori strips and toss well.
In a small bowl stir wasabi powder into hot water and stir in cold water, soy sauce, and ginger juice.
Serve salad sprinkled with remaining nori strips and drizzled with dressing.
Here you can see we only have one lonely lettuce plant. The snails ate that stuff up! What? So, we planted a whole new batch (on the other side of the cilantro monster) and it's doing great!
Check out my little tomatoes. :) This guy is about ping pong ball size.
and some spry young new 'maters.
My jalapenos were going slow for a while there...2 peppers for about a month, but all of a sudden, we have 9! and more on the way!!!
We ended up having to add a new tier to our garden, because T kept bringing home new plants! We now have several types of basil, sage, parsley, and dill, along with these sweet peas. T pulled some of these sprouts out of our salad sprouts and planted them. They went wild! He built this fence for them out of bamboo plucked off our beach. Doesn't it look nice?
See how cute the tiny little tendrils are, just starting to grab onto their frame? Aw, I love them! Too bad I'm not a big pea fan. :P
And, our cute little pineapple. :) (I don't like them either...but it's fun to watch them grow!)
Stay tuned for more! I have a feeling there will be some harvesting going on soon! (By the way...the radishes are about done...the boys have been picking those every day...they are almost gone already! And I dont' even eat them!)
WON TON SALAD
3 chicken breasts
1 head lettuce
4 chopped green onions
1/4 - 1/2 pkg. won ton noodles
2 Tblsp. slivered almonds
4 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. Accent (I don't know if that is still around or not -- it's a flavor enhancer)
6 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 cup oil
1/2 clove garlic
Bake chicken breasts; season with salt and pepper. Shred skinned chicken.
Deep fry won ton noodles. Make a tossed salad of lettuce, chicken, onions and almonds. Top with noodles. Finish with dressing.
Super easy...super good! Sorry I have no pics, but really, you must try it!!!!
| 1/4 cup shortening|
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup lightly toasted flaked coconut (Mounds or Angel Flake brand)
Dulce de Leche Buttercream:
In a large mixing bowl, cream the shortening, butter, and sugar until light and fluffy on medium speed; add egg yolks 1 at a time, beating until all the yellow disappears. Add the vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add alternately with the buttermilk to the creamed mixture beginning and ending with the flour.
Place egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl. Stir the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a small, heavy saucepan. Whisk in the water first, then the dulce de leche and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Gradually whisk the dulce de leche mixture into the 2 egg yolks. Stir in the vanilla. Strain through a wire mesh strainer into a small bowl and set aside to cool completely.
Beat the butter on high speed in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the cooled dulce de leche mixture. Beat in the 1 cup powdered sugar until smooth and spreadable.
Frost each cupcake with a generous amount of dulce de leche buttercream. Refrigerate any remaining buttercream for another use. Sprinkle each cupcake with toasted coconut.
And then...last weekend, my coworker had a birthday party, and asked everyone to bring food. When I asked around, everyone told me I MUST make my Vanilla Nut Martini Cupcakes. My friend's name is Liz, and her nickname is Lizard, so I decided to decorate the cuppys with a little candy lizard! After advice from friends, I melted some white chocolate with green food coloring and put it in a pastry bag. I enlisted my husband to help me trace some little lizards. As you can see, he went a bit wild.
But, I chose the best ones, and put them on top of my cuppys (frosted with Vanilla Bean Frosting, of course!) and they were a hit!
Liz loved the lizard reference, and everyone else was in awe of the cupcakes. I really had no idea the effect they were having on people! As my boss said, "it was like a ray of sunbeam bursting through the clouds." Wow. Seriously, people!
You can see that we now have green onions (thanks to the roommie...he planted them right out of the grocery store produce department!) and a pineapple plant! Oh, and I forgot to mention, we also have peppermint and oregano.
So. Here I am...sauteeing onions, celery, garlic and leeks.
Bulgur and lentils...
Sexy little patties in the skillet.
These babies fall apart really easy...more like Manwiches than burgers, but still, really tasty!!! I served them like any other burger...lettuce, tomatoes, etc.
A pretty little garden.
It started so simple...just a few herbs, tomatoes, and such.
Here it is, all shiny and new.
Stay tuned for updates. You know how gardens grow....with silver bells and cockle shells and pretty maids all in a row.
(And tomatoes, jalapenoes, basil, cilantro, radishes, soybeans, lettuce, carrots, etc.)
I ROUGHLY followed this recipe, though I used whatever I had/wanted to use.
- 1 Box Elbow Macaroni, I think 8 oz, but maybe more
- 1/2 Stick Butter
- 2+/- Tbsp. Flour
- 1 1/2 C. Milk
- 1/4 C. Cream (I used milk)
- 1-2 tsp. Dry Mustard
- Salt & Pepper to Taste
- 2 C. Shredded White Cheddar (I used all sorts of good stuff...gouda, provolone, etc.)
- 1/2 C. Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1/4 C. Grated Romano Cheese
- Panko breadcrumbs, enough to coat top
- Cook macaroni according to package and drain. Pour into a large casserole dish and set aside.
- In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
- Stir in the flour, adding slowly until mixture is smooth and a little thick.
- Slowly whisk in the milk, bringing to a gentle boil, thickening the sauce. When it is smooth and creamy, mix in the cream.
- Stir in the mustard and salt and pepper to your tastes.
- Stir in the cheeses until melted.
- Pour the cheese sauce over the cooked macaroni in the casserole pan. Sprinkle panko on the top of the mac n cheese until a you get a nice coating.
- Bake in oven until hot and bubbly, about 20 minutes.
Mixing the cheeses together.
Melted cheese, butter, flour, salt & pepa
The whole concoction, ready to go into the oven.
All toasty and ready to eat. OMG, yum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, let's backtrack WAY back when to the day I had a girl's brunch. The hubs and the roommate were both on a mancation in Hawaii (yes, a MANCATION in HAWAII - without me!!!), so I decided to have some fun of my own. I decided to invite every cool chick I knew to come over and eat food at my house.
I started raiding blogs everywhere for delish breakfast recipes. I made SO much good stuff. Really. Naturally, I made cupcakes. First up, as you see in the top left corner, I made Mimosa cupcakes - the recipe can be found on the Cupcake Project. These were a big hit! I also made Ricotta Babycakes, and used a whole strawberry instead of mixed berries. I got this recipe from Baking Bites. SO good. As you can see, I had several toppings....for pancakes, of course!
And, what's a brunch without some sort of eggy-potatoey casserole? I made this awesome Brown Egg Frittatta from Bean's Bistro (although I didn't use brown eggs - gasp!). But, LOTS of compliments on this one!
And of course, gotta have coffee! (Though I must say...the mimosas seemed to be the much more popular option!)
Altogether, brunch was a blast! I had friends stay until 5 pm. I don't know why us girls don't do this more often!