Archive for February, 2011

February 28, 2011

Grilled Balsamic Steak Salad

 

Grilled Balsamic Steak Salad

I’ll be honest…steak is not one of my strong suits. This could possibly have to do with the fact that I don’t eat red meat. I’m always interested in finding different ways to marinate and  prepare  steak but then when it comes to actually grilling it and taste-testing it,  I’m completely useless. So, this dish is pretty much  as close as my husband and I come to cooking ‘together’ in  our kitchen. I marinate the steak and then he stands over me while I  grill it going  “Flip it! Now! Now!” It’s  pretty amusing. And he of course does the taste testing to determine if it’s a good recipe. That was pretty much the case with this recipe. I prepared  the steak and we jointly grilled it. It was actually husband’s idea to throw it over spinach and toss some cheese on (which  surprised me tremendously). Overall, I’d say this was a success.

Grilled Balsamic Steak Salad

Ingredients

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound skirt steak, trimmed and cut into 4 pieces
1 Tbsp butter, unsalted
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup cheddar cheese
2-3 cups Spinach leaves

Directions

Combine first 4 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add steak, turning to coat; seal and marinate at room temperature 8hours or overnight, turning once.
Remove steak from bag; discard marinade.
Heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 Tbsp butter.
Sprinkle both sides of steak with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.
Add steak to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.
When turning the pan, put the other 1/2 Tbsp of butter on top of the steak.
Remove steak from pan; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Tent with foil; let stand 5 minutes. Cut steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices.
Place steak over bed of spinach and cheddar cheese.

Source: Adapted from: Cooking Light
*Disclaimer: Steak was grilled to medium by my husband, Francis,  because I’m completely incompetent when it comes to steak grilling.

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February 26, 2011

Sauteed Spinach

 

Sauteed Spinach

In my house, it is a battle to get my husband to eat vegetables, which is unfortunate since I love veggies. I am constantly trying to find new ways of cooking them to make them ‘edible’ for him.  Over the years, I have found that adding garlic and butter to vegetables will make him at least give the vegetable dish a shot, so when I stumbled upon this recipe for sauteed spinach, I knew I had to give it a shot. It’s so quick and easy to make and although the picture doesn’t do it justice, it’s really flavorful. My proof that it was a good recipe? Husband finished his whole portion.

 

Sauteed Spinach

Ingredients

1 lb spinach (2 bunches)
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil + more if needed
1 Tbsp butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt to taste

Directions

Cut off the thick stems of the spinach and discard. Clean the spinach by filling up your sink with water and soaking the spinach to loosen any sand or dirt. Drain the spinach and then repeat soaking and draining. Put the spinach in a salad spinner to remove any excess moisture.
Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp butter in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for about 1 minute, until the garlic is just beginning to brown.
Add the spinach to the pan, packing it down a bit if you need to with your hand. Use a couple spatulas to lift the spinach and turn it over in the pan so that you coat more of it with the olive oil and garlic. Do this a couple of times. Cover the pan and cook for 1 minute. Uncover and turn the spinach over again. Cover the pan and cook for an additional minute.
After 2 minutes of covered cooking the spinach should be completely wilted. Remove from heat. Drain any excess moisture from the pan. Add a little more olive oil, sprinkle with salt to taste. Serve immediately.

Source: Adapted from: Simply Recipes

February 21, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I usually like to end the week with a sweet post, but given that I was post call last Friday, this post never made it to the Internet. Also, since we’re having round two of Midwest blizzard 2011, I thought a dessert post with fruit was in order to remind us that spring really will be here soon despite what the weather says (the groundhog said spring is coming, and he can’t possibly be mistaken right?).

My husband doesn’t like many desserts…in fact, he likes exactly two desserts: ice cream, and strawberry rhubarb pie. Every year, for his birthday, he asks for strawberry rhubarb pie. Easy request right? Not so much given that we live in the very cold and often snowy North where rhubarb doesn’t exist between November and March. A couple of years ago, my mother-in-law began giving me bags of rhubarb from her garden to freeze in the summer to make her son pie for his birthday, hence this strawberry-rhubarb pie post in February.

This is my tried and true recipe for strawberry rhubarb pie. I have been using it for quite a while and it makes a delicious pie that is not too sweet or too tart. Best of all? It gets the husband seal of approval.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Ingredients

1 deep-dish 9 inch prepared pie crust (1/2 recipe of this basic pie dough)
4 cups (about 1 1/4 pounds) rhubarb, ends trimmed, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch piece
2 cups strawberries, quartered
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt

Crumble Topping

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Directions

For the crumble topping – in a medium bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Work in the butter with your hands, until large moist clumps form. Cover and chill until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in lowest level. In a large bowl, toss rhubarb and strawberries with sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Pour into pie shell; sprinkle with Crumble Topping. Place pie on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
Place pie in oven; reduce heat to 375 degrees. Bake until topping is browned and crust is lightly browned, about 1 1/2 hours. (If topping or crust begins to brown too quickly, cover with foil.) Cool completely before serving.

Sources: Adapted from: Very Culinary and Baking Illustrated

February 16, 2011

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

 

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

So, do you have cavities yet from all of the sweet posts?

Now that Valentine’s Day is past, I thought I would start posting “real” food posts again…not that dessert isn’t ‘real’ food but I think I’m in the minority when I claim that dessert should be the bottom of the food pyramid.

I’m not a red meat eater, so whenever I make my husband steak, I usually scavenge around the kitchen trying to find something for myself to eat…and that ‘something’ usually ends up being a Boca burger. Well, one night, I got tired of doing  that so I decided to actually make a gourmet meal and make grilled portobello mushrooms for myself. I had only had portobellos in sandwiches before but let me tell you, these were incredible! They were juicy and flavorful, and I didn’t feel at all like I was missing out by not eating steak that night.

This recipe would probably work well with the whole portobello caps too, but I used what was on sale (pre-sliced stems) and it was so delicious. I highly recommend this recipe for any vegetarian or non-vegetarian willing to be adventurous.

 

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

Ingredients

4 large portobello mushrooms, washed, stems cut off and caps cut into slices
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
black pepper, to taste

Directions

Melt the butter, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic & pepper together in a small saucepan.
Brush the mushrooms generously with the melted butter and olive oil mixture.
On a grill pan, grill the portobello mushrooms for about 8 minutes. Turn and grill the tops of the portobello mushrooms for 6 to 8 minutes longer. The grilled portobello mushrooms should be tender and nicely browned.

Source: Adapted from: Southern Food About dot com

February 14, 2011

Iced Raspberry Souffle

 

Iced Raspberry Souffle

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Still looking for the perfect dessert for your sweetheart for tonight? Well, this souffle is tres’ chic and definitely hits the spot (and its so  light as well). I first saw this recipe during my ‘Take Home Chef’ phase…I’d watch every episode of that show on TLC and hope to run into that chef in my local grocery store…yeah, okay, I don’t think he ever came out to the midwest, but a girl can dream. The premise of that show was basically, this  awesome chef would pick some random person in a grocery store and pay for all their groceries and then come home with them and teach them to cook a fantastic meal. Pretty amazing.

Well, on one show, he made this iced raspberry souffle as the dessert, and I knew I just had to make it. It’s been my go-to Valentine’s Day dessert for the last several years because my husband absolutely loves it, and it’s really quite simple to make. The only problem I have with it is that raspberries are sometimes hit or miss at the grocery store here this time of year.

Anyways, enjoy and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Iced Raspberry  Souffle

Ingredients

6 ounces fresh raspberries
3/4 cup  sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream, semi-whipped
2 large egg whites
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
4 fresh raspberries, for garnish
Additional powdered sugar, for garnish

Directions

Cut four 14×3-inch/35×8-cm pieces of parchment paper. Wrap 1 paper strip around each of four 3/4-cup/175-ml soufflé dishes, forming collars that extend 1 inch/2.5 cm above the rims. Tape the ends to secure. Blitz the 6 ounces/170 g of raspberries and sugar in a blender until a puree forms.
Strain the puree through a fine-meshed sieve and into a large bowl, discarding the seeds in the strainer. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold the semi-whipped cream into the raspberry puree.
In a separate large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites and 2 tablespoons/20 g of powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the raspberry-cream mixture.
Pour the mixture into the soufflé dishes, dividing equally. Freeze for 3 hours or just until the raspberry mixture is frozen. Gently remove the parchment paper from the soufflés. Top each with a raspberry. Dust lightly with powdered sugar and serve!

Source: Take Home Chef

February 11, 2011

Oreo Truffles

 

Oreo Truffles

Friday…the most wonderful day of the week!

Okay, so I’m working both Saturday and Sunday this week, but for some reason, I still absolutely adore Fridays, and what better way to enjoy a Friday than with Oreo Truffles. These are, the original truffle…at least for me. They are the absolute first truffle I made and so, stand out in my mind as the best, most chocolaty and most romantic.

I felt compelled to post the picture in black and white just because it seemed more romantic and these truffles are definitely romantic (if you’re still searching for something to serve as dessert on Valentine’s Day). They take only about 15 minutes to make but absolutely taste gourmet.

To those of you celebrating Valentine’s Day this weekend like me, enjoy, and bon appetit!

Oreo Truffles

Ingredients

30 Oreo cookies, crushed
6oz cream cheese
2 (8 ounce) packages Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, melted
1 (6oz) package white baking chocolate

Directions

Combine crushed Oreos and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add cream cheese and mix until well blended.
Using a melon scoop, cookie scoop or your hands, create 1Tbsp sized balls.
Place balls on waxed paper and freeze for 15 minutes.
Melt the semisweet chocolate in a bowl over simmering water.
Dip truffles into semisweet chocolate.
Repeat chocolate melting with white chocolate.
Using a whisk, drizzle white chocolate over the truffles.
Refrigerate at least  1 hr.

Source: I have used this recipe for years and know it has been making its way around the internet so I’m really not sure where it originated from, but if you’re the original owner, please feel free to contact me so I can give credit where credit is due.

February 9, 2011

Peppermint White Chocolate Truffles

 

Peppermint White Chocolate Truffles

Okay, the first thought when I made these and took a picture of them was ‘don’t these little guys look like snowballs’? Maybe this is influenced by the snow apocalypse that we had last week.  Beautiful little snowballs covered in pink (and this is my friend Catherine’s description) “fairydust”. A perfect description for these truffles.

They’re beautiful and absolutely delicious. I’ve always been a huge fan of white chocolate…way more so than dark chocolate and the flavor combination of white chocolate and peppermint is perfect. The only disclaimer to this recipe is please please please make sure the ganache reaches room temperature before refrigerating it. Otherwise it absolutely positively will separate out. Otherwise, these are a cinch to make!

Peppermint White Chocolate Truffles

Ingredients

8 ounces white chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
20 peppermint candies, or 1/2 cup precrushed peppermints

Directions

Heat cream and corn syrup in a heat proof bowl over simmering water. Add chocolate, a little at a time, whisking to combine.
Remove from heat. Add the peppermint extract and the butter, stir slowly until combined.
Let the ganache sit until it reaches room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours. (Don’t skip the step of bringing the ganache to room temperature, or the butter may separate out !)
Put the peppermint candies in a plastic baggie and crush them with a kitchen mallet until they are in tiny pieces. Place in a small Pyrex dish or a ramekin.
Line a baking sheet with parchment. Using a melon baller or spoon, scoop small balls of ganache and roll in your hands to slightly warm the truffle. Dip in the crushed candy mixture and place on the baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm, about two hours.
Store in a covered container in the refrigerator up to one week. Remove 30-60 minutes before serving.
You can also freeze truffles for up to one month.

Source: My Madison Bistro

February 7, 2011

Gingerbread Truffles

 

 

Gingerbread Truffles

 

It’s the week before Valentine’s Day, and I’ve decided to dedicate this week of blogging to one of my favorite desserts: truffles. The truffle trend started years ago and I really don’t think that it has ever gotten ‘old’ (because seriously, who could get tired of these delicate, rich, chocolate bites of heaven?).

Through the years of making truffles, I’ve discovered so many wonderful truffle recipes and this year, have given boxes of homemade truffles as gifts to my family. The boxes included Gingerbread truffles (this post), Peppermint truffles (Wednesday’s post) and Oreo truffles (Friday’s post). They also included cookie dough truffles though I didn’t manage to get a good picture of them before they were devoured. Anyways, the point being, truffles would make a fabulous Valentine’s Day gift.

I know that gingerbread is normally thought of as a Christmas food, but as I was just discussing with one of my girlfriends in the ICU, who determines what’s normal or ethical or ‘right’? Of course, we weren’t talking about truffles, or gingerbread for that matter, but I think it still applies. Who decided that gingerbread should only be eaten between December 1st and 31st?

These truffles are chewy and have a ton of flavor in such tiny bites. In the original recipe, they were supposed to have nutmeg sprinkled on top, but I’m a bit of a chocolate junkie so I decided to just pour on the chocolate (dark on white) and they turned out fabulous.

Happy early Valentine’s Day! It’s going to be a sweet week!

Gingerbread Truffles

Ingredients

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup boiling water

For the coating

12oz white chocolate
1 8-oz. block cream cheese, at room temperature
6oz semisweet chocolate

Directions

Mix together the butter and sugar, then add the egg and molassess, mixing well.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, spices, soda and salt, then add to wet mixture.
Stir to combine, then add the boiling water and mix. Pour batter into a greased 9×13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes or until springy. Let cool completely.
When cake is completely cooled, crumble into the bowl of a stand mixer and add in the cream cheese. Mix until the cake and cream cheese is totally combined.
Roll out into walnut-sized balls and place on a sheet pan lined with wax paper. Chill for 1 hour.
Melt the white chocolate in a bowl over simmering water stirring, until it is completely smooth.
Dip the balls in one at a time (I use two forks for this) and coat with the white chocolate. Set on a sheet of wax paper.
Melt semisweet chocolate in a bowl over simmering water in a similar fashion. Drizzle the darker chocolate over the truffles using a fork or whisk. Allow to harden completely. At this point you can serve immediately or freeze for later use.

Source: Adapted from: Sing for your Supper

 

Valentine's Day Gingerbread Truffles

February 5, 2011

Raspberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

 

Raspberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

I’m pretty sure that unless a person is lactose intolerant, there is absolutely no way for them to dislike cheesecake. So when my mother approached me the other day to make a dessert for her to take to work for a coworker’s birthday, I immediately thought of cheesecake cupcakes. Of course, Valentine’s Day is on my mind already so I couldn’t just make plain old cheesecake cupcakes, so I searched for a way to make them more festive, and stumbled upon Annie’s version of them that involved swirling raspberries into the top layer of them to create a beautiful finished marbled appearance.

After my mother called me the next day telling me that the cupcakes got rave reviews at work, I knew I had to bring them into work myself. Now, I have this rule about call nights. I always bring in baked goods when I’m on call. It makes call so much more pleasant for both myself (because seriously, who doesn’t want to be eating cheesecake on call between ICU admissions) and for the residents who are on with me.

Now, I usually don’t post blog entries on the weekends, but this post is for my mother….because her coworkers have been tirelessly asking her to bring the cheesecake cupcakes to work again. So here you go mom! Enjoy making these this weekend!

Raspberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

Ingredients

For the crust:
9 Honey Graham crackers
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
16 oz cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sugar

For the topping:
6 oz raspberries
2 Tbsp Sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375° F. Line 12 cups of a mini muffin tin with paper liners.
For the crust, break the cinnamon graham crackers into chunks and pulse them in a food processor until they are fine crumbs.
With the crumbs in the food processor, pulse while slowly pouring in the melted butter until combined and resembling wet sand. Divide the crumbs between 12 cups of the prepared mini muffin tin, pressing the crumbs into the bottom and a little bit up the sides to form the crust. Set aside.
For the filling, beat softened cream cheese and egg in a medium bowl or in the bowl of a stand electric mixer until smooth and thoroughly combined.
Add vanilla and sugar, and continue beating until combined. Spoon the filling into each mini muffin cup, filling almost to the top.
To make the raspberry puree, combine the raspberries and sugar in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth, then pour through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds.
Dot a ½ teaspoon of the raspberry puree in a few dots over the cheesecake filling. Use a toothpick or a wooden skewer to lightly swirl and create a marbled effect.
Bake for 15 minutes, until the tops are no longer glossy and the centers are set.
Remove the cheesecakes from the pan and set on a wire rack to allow the cheesecakes to cool about 30 minutes at room temperature.
After 30 minutes, continue cooling the cheesecakes in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Once cool, store cheesecakes in the refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Sources: Adapted from: Craving Chronicles and Annie’s Eats

My mother's food styling of Cheesecake Cupcakes

February 2, 2011

Red Pepper and Leek Mini-Quiches

 

Leek and Red Pepper Mini Quiches

This is one of the last recipes  that I plan on posting from my sister-in-law’s baby shower…but I just had to post it. These were so delicious that my husband even ate a few and he absolutely refuses to eat quiche usually. Truth be told, I have never cooked with leeks but that has now changed since making these. Smelling the leeks while cooking the quiches, I knew that this was going to be good.

These would be perfect as a fancy brunch dish or just a good start to a weekend. I’m looking forward to trying out different combination of vegetables in them.

Leek and Red Pepper Mini Quiches

Ingredients

For the cheddar pastry

1/4 lb. white cheddar cheese, cut into chunks
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1/4 tsp. salt
8 Tbs. (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 to 3 Tbs. cold water

For the filling:
1 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 leek, white portion only, or 2 large shallots, finely chopped
1/2 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/4 lb. dry-aged white cheddar cheese, grated
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Directions:

To make the cheddar pastry, in a food processor, pulse the cheese until crumbly. Add the flour and salt and pulse until the cheese is finely crumbled. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles fluffy bread crumbs. Drizzle the egg over the mixture and pulse twice. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Sprinkle 2 Tbs. water over the mixture and pulse until a rough mass forms. If the mixture doesn’t come together, add another 1 Tbs. water.

Place the pastry on a lightly floured work surface and shape into a smooth ball. Divide in half. Roll out half the pastry into a large round 1/8 inch thick, pushing the dough outward from the center and rotating it about a quarter turn each time you roll, sprinkling more flour underneath as needed.

Using a 2-inch cookie cutter, cut out as many pastry rounds as possible and ease them very gently into the cups of a mini-muffin pan. The bottoms should remain rounded and the dough edges flush with the rims. Gather up the scraps, reroll, cut out additional rounds and line additional cups. Repeat with the remaining dough half, working in batches if necessary. You should have a total of 48 lined cups.

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

To make the filling, in a small sauté pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the leek and sauté gently, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add the bell pepper and cheese. In another bowl or large measuring cup, whisk the eggs until blended, then whisk in the cream, mustard, salt and cayenne. Add the egg mixture to the leek mixture and whisk to combine. Pour 1 Tbs. of the filling into each of the pastry shells, evenly distributing the solids and liquid.

Bake the quiches until they are puffy and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer the muffin pan to a wire rack and cool for 5 to 10 minutes (the quiches will sink a little as they cool). To loosen them from the muffin cups, run a thin-bladed knife around the sides, then carefully lift the quiches out of the cups. Arrange on a platter and serve.
Makes 48 warm bites.

Source: Williams Sonoma