Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lemon Cupcakes & Blackberry Icing

I'm continuing with this flavor combination...first the lemon waffles and blackberry syrup and now these fun cupcakes.  I made the "adult" version of icing but it's not necessary to add in the blackberry liqueur.  The seedless blackberry jam will add enough flavor without it.  

Lemon Cupcakes

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large egg whites
1 tsp lemon extract
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Cream together butter and sugar.  Mix in egg whites, lemon extract, vanilla, lemon juice and zest.  Alternate mixing in buttermilk and dry ingredients.  Scoop into paper liners in cupcake tins until about 3/4 full.  Bake for 20-24 minutes at 325°.  Makes 24 cupcakes.

Blackberry Icing

1/2 cup whipping cream
4 ounces Mascarpone cheese
1 cup powdered sugar

2 tbsp seedless blackberry jam
2 tbsp blackberry liqueur (optional)

Beat whipping cream until soft peaks form.  Add in Mascarpone and
powdered sugar.  Add in blackberry liqueur and ice your favorite cake.  Makes enough for 24 cupcakes.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Lemon Ricotta Waffles & Blackberry Syrup

Nothing like a rainy day to keep you indoors and making something that will brighten your day.  I made the blackberry syrup a few days ago and wanted something light and bright to serve it with.  I had already made lemon ricotta waffles so I just tweaked the recipe a slight bit and was ready to rock.

Lemon Ricotta Waffles

1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp lemon zest
2 large eggs, separated
4 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
2 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 cup ricotta
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon extract1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Sift all dry ingredients and zest into a large bowl.  In a small bowl, beat egg whites until light and fluffy.  Gradually mix buttermilk, egg yolks, butter, ricotta, extracts and lemon juice into the dry ingredients.  Gently fold in the egg whites.

Bake per your waffle makers instructions.

Makes 10 waffles

Blackberry Syrup

10 oz blackberries, thawed if frozen and cooked down (this will be about 1/3 cup juice)
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar

Cook down blackberries over a low heat in a small saucepan.  They will release their own juice if frozen.  If fresh, add in a couple tablespoons water. Allow to cool and then strain through a fine mesh.  Push down and get some of the pulp also.  Return to saucepan and add the water, cornstarch and sugar.  Stir in completely and then turn the heat on and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently until the syrup thickens.  Store syrup in an airtight container in your refrigerator.  The syrup will be good for a couple weeks.  You can also use it over ice cream.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Breakfast Meatballs

Weekends are a great time for experimenting with new breakfast foods so today I decided to make meatballs for breakfast.  These are not your average meatballs with the egg and breadcrumbs...I left those out and focused on meat and cheese...and a little of my favorite in meatballs ~ fennel seed.  I added in a little bit of real maple syrup to help caramelize the meatballs.  I did not add in additional salt or pepper since these are already in the breakfast sausage.

Breakfast Meatballs

1# turkey breakfast sausage
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp fennel seed
3/4 cup Marble Jack shredded cheese

Hand mix all the ingredients together.  Form into balls and bake for 25 minutes at 350°.  

Makes 16 meatballs.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

Sometimes you just get hungry for Mexican food.  This is a very Americanized recipe so creamy with a little bite from the green chilies.  The enchilada sauce can be put together in minutes and you could use rotisserie chicken to whip up in a short amount of time on a weeknight.

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

2 cups shredded chicken breasts
8 oz cream cheese (I used reduced fat)
2 tbsp green chilies
1 1/2 cups cooked rice - white or brown
10 soft taco flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded Colby Jack shredded cheese

Enchilada Sauce ~

1 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder

Mix all the ingredients together and bring to a simmer.

In the same frying pan you used to cook the chicken or another pan, combine the shredded chicken, cream cheese, green chilies and cooked rice.  When the cream cheese has melted, scoop out and fill the center of the flour tortillas.  Roll and place seam down in a 9 x 13 pan.  Pour the enchilada sauce over and place in a 350°oven for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and top with shredded cheese.  Return to oven for another 5 minutes.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake

Chocolate and strawberries just go together.  I happen to be reading a book that talks about chocolate covered strawberries frequently so it made me hungry for the combination.  I made this in the food processor for ease of preparation.  There's a bar of Ghirardelli dark chocolate chopped up in the shortcake.  It's great to hit a little pocket of melting chocolate when served warm.

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake

In your food processor ~

1 - 3.17 oz Ghirardelli Midnight Reverie bar (chop this first)
1 cup + 2 tbsp flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp Double Dutch Dark Chocolate cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt

Turn on the food processor and mix with the same chopping blade and let all the dry ingredients get completely incorporated.

Add in ~

1 large egg
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
4 tbsp cold butter, chopped into smaller pieces.

Turn the food processor and keep it on until a ball forms.  Turn out dough onto a floured surface and add any additional flour until the dough is no longer sticky.  Press out until dough is 1/2" thick.  Cut out with a biscuit cutter in the desired size you want to make the shortcakes.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Put the baking sheet in the refrigerator for 1 hour.  After an hour, place in a preheated oven of 400° for 18 minutes.  Serve with macerated strawberries and whipped cream.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Parmesan Couscous

I'm not sure about you but I'm always looking for a light and easy side dish to make.  I've had a box of couscous for awhile and I decided to use it for the easiest ever side.  If the hardest part of the dish is grating Parmesan cheese...you know it's a winner.

Parmesan Couscous

1 cup water
2 tbsp butter
3/4 cup couscous
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp parsley
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

In a small saucepan, bring the water and butter to a boil.  Remove from the heat and stir in the couscous and salt.  Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.  Uncover and stir in the parsley and Parmesan.  Put in a bowl and serve warm.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Italian Chicken Roulade

It's a great time to cook inside when the temperature and humidity are both extremely high.  One of my weekly meat purchases is normally some natural chicken breasts so this is how I added flavor to them.

Italian Chicken Roulade

2 boneless chicken breasts
1/4 tsp oregano
2 tbsp Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Pound out the chicken breasts to they are an even thickness and about 1/4" thick.  Place on a large square of plastic wrap.  Season the breasts with the oregano, salt, pepper and cheese.  Using the plastic wrap, tightly roll up the chicken from the small end (lengthwise).  Twist the ends of the wrap to firmly seal and place in the refrigerator for 4 hours so they hold their shape.  

After 4 hours ~

Have 2 flat bowls for -

1 beaten egg in one and in the other ~

1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp parsley
1 tbsp Parmesan, freshly grated
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Brown the chicken, seam side first, in a medium frying pan (if you can move it directly into the oven, you'll have one less pan to wash).  When all sides are browm, put into a 350° oven and bake until the internal temperature reaches 165°.