MAKING LIFE TASTE BETTER

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Roasted Veggie and Seafood Pizza



Serves 4 (2 at our house)
Ingredients
Recipes below for all of the following
Roasted cherry tomatoes
Sauteed vegetables
Sauteed shrimp
1/2 lb lump crab meat , picked through and drained if packed in water
 1c shredded cheese (be creative) like Smoked carmelized goat cheese
1/4 cup Romano cheese, finely grated
1 whole wheat Boboli
Fresh Garlic
Olive oil
Special equipment
15” round pizza stone
Preparation
.For the roasted tomatoes: 12 oz cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon each fresh garlic & olive oil
Pre-heat the oven to 450 F.
Halve tomatoes and squeeze/scoop out seeds and pulp. Place on baking sheet, drizzle with garlic olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Roast 20-30 minutes until beginning to caramelize. Remove and cool on baking sheet.
For the sauteed vegetables:
8 oz baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
8 oz asparagus, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
1 tablespoon each fresh garlic & olive oil
2 tablespoon sherry
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary
Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan until shimmering. Saute mushrooms until water is released and evaporated. Add sherry, rosemary, salt and pepper, and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add asparagus and cook for 2 minutes (keep asparagus under-cooked). Remove from heat and set aside. Add roasted tomatoes and stir. Drain on paper towels if there is any excess liquid.
For the shrimp:
1/2 lb shrimp, cleaned and deveined
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Pinch of pepper
1 tablespoon fresh garlic & olive oil
1 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce
Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add ingredients and saute shrimp until almost cooked (it will finish cooking in the oven). Drain on paper towels.
For the "white" sauce:
 1 tablespoons  olive oil
1 14oz. can white beans (cannelloni), drained
 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce2-3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice (as needed)
Puree all "white" sauce ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Add more juice if needed. Must be of spreading consistency.




Assemble the pizza:

Spread  white sauce over the crust and top with veggie mixture. Sprinkle the crab and shrimp over the top. Cover with cheese and Romano cheeses. Bake 15-20 minutes more until cheeses begin to brown.
Devour!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce



Turkey meatballs
whole grain linguine
Fresh Romano

Our friend Linda makes this Eggplant relish that mixed with some fire roasted tomatoes
Makes one helluva good tomato sauce.....

Edible Panties

Rick came home with a picture our friend John had given him....
Wanted to know if I could make this cookie.
I love a challenge and of course I had to give it a try........





and here is how they came out....

Beet Salad

Fresh oven roasted beets (6)
1/4 c. chopped walnuts
1/4 c. crumbled bleu cheese
and some balsamic vinaigrette for drizzling.....
Makes up one of our favorite salads.....I cut the beets with a heart shape for Valentines Day...




and it went well with a Crab stuffed chicken breast and a light Dijon mustard sauce....

 

And yes there was desert.......



James and Bette


Mannequins as you can see.....


Valentines Day

Yes I know I'm a bit late....I have been fairly busy lately and here are somethings I've been busy with....






Marble cupcakes....





Topped with gummi hearts and Butterfingers

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Chocolate butter pecans


  • Servings: 4 dozen cookies
  • Cookies:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Mexican vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons pure chili powder, to taste
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) pecans, toasted and finely chopped
  • smoked sea salt, optional
  • Mexican Chocolate Icing:
  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pecans halves for garnish

Directions

  1. Cookies:
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Beat butter and sugars in large bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg, salt and vanilla; blend until incorporated. Stir in flour and chili powder; blend well. Add chopped pecans; mix to combine.
  3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until very light brown and crisp at the edges. Cool cookies on pan for two minutes or until set, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
  4. (I use double boiler)
  5. Mexican Chocolate Icing:
  6. Place chocolate, vanilla, chili powder and cinnamon in large microwave-safe dish. Microwave 30 seconds on high, stir and continue to microwave in 10- to 20-second intervals, stirring after each until chocolate is melted and smooth. Using teaspoon, drizzle chocolate over cooled cookies; press a pecan half on top and sprinkle with (smoked) sea salt.
  7. Store cookies in airtight container at room temperature, separating layers with parchment paper, for up to 1 week.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Raspberry Chicken



4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

Raspberry Glaze:

1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
4 tablespoon Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme


Pecan Crusted Chicken

1/2 cup pecan meal
1/2 cup whole wheat panko
1 egg white (may use whole egg if you like)
2 tablespoon honey
 Chicken may be grilled or cooked your desired way without coating. It is still great with this sauce.

Heat all sauce ingredients in small sauce pan, cook over medium heat 5 minutes, or until glaze consistency is reached. Stir occasionally.

Chicken:
Mix egg white with honey and blend well with a whisk.
Mix pecan meal and panko in a bowl big enough to dredge chicken.
Dip chicken in egg wash and then crumb mixture.

Saute:(1 Tbsp olive oil if desired) cook chicken in spray coated pan 10 minutes, flip chicken and cook 10 minutes more. OR until reaches 165*F.

Bake:
Heat oven to 375*F
Spray coat baking dish. Add chicken and bake 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lemon Coconut Pixies

 

           Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup Sweetened Coconut Flakes
  • Powdered sugar


Directions:

1. Heat oven to 300°F.

2. Beat butter, sugar, eggs and lemon peel in large bowl until well blended. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Stir in coconut. Cover; refrigerate dough about 1 hour or until firm enough to handle. Shape** into 1-inch balls; roll in powdered sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

3. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are set. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 4 dozen cookies.

**I shape my cookies with an ice cream scoop and then refrigerate.....#40 scoop

Friday, February 11, 2011

Cashew-Butter cookies




2/3 cup roasted,salted chopped cashew nuts
1/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2-2/3 cup flour
8 oz. chopped white chocolate
4 tsp. shortening
3/4 cup chopped cashews or sanding sugars

1.  Place the 2/3 cup cashews in food processor. Cover and process for 2-3 minutes or until smooth butter forms, scraping down sides as needed. Transfer cashew butter to mixing bowl. Add the 1/3 cup shortening and the butter. Beat on medium high speed for 30 seconds. Add the sugars, butter, baking soda, and baking powder. Beat until combined, scraping down bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill dough 3 hours or until easy to handle.

2. Preheat oven to 350* On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the dough at a time until 1/4" thick. Using 2-1/2" cookie cutters, cut out leaf shapes; place 2" apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to cooling racks, cool completely

3. Heat water in a small heavy saucepan (simmer). Place white chocolate and 4 tsp. shortening in metal bowl.
Place over simmering water, stir until melted and smooth*. Spread or pipe white chocolate onto cookies.
Immediately sprinkle with the chopped cashews or sanding sugars. Let stand until set.

*Chocolate may be colored as you can see in the picture, using gel paste colors

Tropical Snowdrops



2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 cup White Chocolate Chips

1 cup mixed dried fruit, chopped ( I use pineapple, mango and kiwi =  to make 1 cup)

1/2 cup toasted,chopped macadamia nuts

1/2 cup shredded coconut ( I like mine toasted)



PREHEAT oven to 350° F.
COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in fruit (s), white chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto parchment lined baking sheets.
BAKE for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chocolate Dreams



1  cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate chips

2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (Ghiradelli or Hershey's Dark)

1 cup roasted, chopped macadamia nuts (or you choose nuts)

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large eggs

PREHEAT oven to 350° F.
MELT the 2 cups bittersweet chocolate in small, heavy-duty saucepan over low heat; stir until smooth. Remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature.
(I use a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water)
COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in melted chocolate. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in the cup of semi-sweet chips and the roasted nuts.  Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. ( I always use a #30 or #40 ice cream scoop to dip and deposit cookies)
BAKE for 8 to 9 minutes ( turning tray 1/2 way thru baking) or until cookies are puffed. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Iron Bread

 


We did an "Iron Bread" competition in International Breads ..... Our secret ingredient was Raspberries...Our team of 4 made Fruit Pizza (Mascarpone,pineapple,raspberry coulis on thin crust)

 and Roasted Potato Cheese Bread (Parmesan,Romano,Bleu and Cheddar) with Raspberry Honey Butter...


 And Monkey Bread.....we rolled it in raspberry butter before the cinnamon sugar and then baked it....
 Didn't win.....but we had a helluva great time........
I love bread class.........

More from Pastry Class



February 1, 2011

This is a Grand Buffet I had to do for my Final (2nd Term), Classical Pastry. My partner (Sheila) and I  had to work together and then create on our own. We had to present this to our families.....
Eight teams of 2 .....WOW! What a lot of great stuff we created.....Sorry y'all missed it....

    
 This is a frangipane cake. It has to be baked, layered (raspberry jam), sliced then molded. It is then filled with Bavarian Cream (custard) and topped with another cake (becomes the bottom)...I chose to cover mine with a chocolate fudge cake. After refrigeration (24 hours) , it is un-molded and here is what comes out...

 and now it becomes a Charlotte Royale... Beautiful...

 This is classmate Lawrencia behind our Grand Buffet....

 This is a cookie tree Rick and I designed, so I could use it for display.....edible snowflakes.

 Saccher Torte.....Death by Chocolate.
 There were Carrot Cake crumbs from other classmates so I took some Triple Sec, toasted hazel nuts and some cream cheese icing....and made cake poppers. They are topped with marzipan carrots and fresh rosemary stems...

Petit Fours.....Frangipane cake, raspberry jam and chocolate...Addicting!

January 29. 2011

 John and Pat ordered cheesecakes for their wedding cake and here is what we did....

 Fresh lavender and ginger shortbread cookies......

 Pat's favorite color is kiwi.....green

 Rick setting the display.....

 The cookie cake topper.....because a cake should be COMPLETELY edible

 We had to add a cake to accommodate the extra guests. It was a french vanilla butter cake, layered with Kiwi butter rum...


The happy couple.....

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sweet Potato Focaccia

 

 

Jessie Grearson, Falmouth, Maine

This focaccia includes extra nutrition and fiber through its use of sweet potatoes, which adds a glowing, golden color to the dough and a subtle flavor. This recipe is unintimidating, simple to make and incorporates flavors (olive oil, rosemary, and garlic) I often use with sweet potato dishes. This is delicious warm, but it’s also enjoyable sliced horizontally and toasted as a sandwich bread.

Dough

  • 1 cup warm water (100°-110°F)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 teaspoons Fleischmann’s  Active Dry Yeast
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • ½ cup mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup 100% Whole Wheat Flour
  •   2 ½ cups  Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, divided
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 



Topping

  • 1-2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
  • 1 large clove fresh garlic, finely minced
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons shredded Asiago cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Dash of cayenne red pepper, if desired
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt, to taste
  1. In medium bowl, stir together warm water, honey, and yeast; let stand 2 to 3 minutes. Add olive oil, rosemary, Italian spice, sweet potatoes, salt, whole wheat flour, and Italian-Style flour. Stir vigorously for about 2 minutes.
  2. Gradually stir in enough all-purpose flour to make a soft dough. Turn out on lightly floured surface and knead in enough of the remaining all-purpose flour to make workable dough; knead 5 - 8 minutes. (Dough will be slightly sticky, but workable). Place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover; let rise 1 ½ hours in a warm place, or cover dough and let rise six hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Allow dough to warm at least 30 minutes before shaping.
  3. Line one 18 x 13 x 1-inch pan with parchment paper and sprinkle with cornmeal. Gently press dough over the cornmeal-dusted paper, stretching dough into a 15 x 11-inch rectangle. Cover with a towel, and let rise 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 400°F. Dimple the dough vigorously with your fingertips, leaving indentations that are as deep as ½ inch. Sprinkle garlic, rosemary, Asiago cheese, black pepper, and cayenne pepper over top. Drizzle lightly with olive oil; sprinkle with salt.
  5. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  6. Makes 1 large focaccia, 24 slices.