Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lower Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies

You may have noticed there have been no updates for a few days. That is because I was on a little summer vacation - the Brickyard 400 and the Indy Zoo! I made some cookies for us to bring for snacks at the race. I didn't have a recipe, but I wanted to make a lower fat chocolate chip cookie. These were wonderful!

Lower Fat Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies

1 egg
1 c. fat free buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. quick cooking oats
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 c. semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line with parchment paper.
Mix egg, milk, vanilla, and sugars until well combined. Add dry ingredients and mix for another 20 seconds. Add chocolate chips and fold in.
Drop heaping spoon fulls onto sheet pan, bake for 15 minutes, or until puffy and golden.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sour Cream, Chives and Havarti Twice Baked Potatoes

For dinner tonight I went to my cheese drawer to see what I could use in my twice baked potatoes. I found some light havarti, and thought it would pair nicely with sour cream and chives. To use up the zucchini my dad sent, I went with succotash. I asked JJ what kind of chicken he wanted, and he told me panko buffalo chicken tenders, his new favorite, that I've been making a lot lately!

Sour Cream, Chives, and Light Havarti Twice Baked Potatoes

2 russet potatoes
1/4 c. light sour cream
1/2 c. shredded light havarti cheese
1 tbsp. fresh snipped chives
Splash of skim milk
Garlic Salt and Pepper

Wash potatoes, slice into the center halfway through the potato, and put in a 450 degree oven. Bake for 45-60 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Slice off the top third of the potato. Scoop out the insides of the bottom 2/3, and peel the skin off the top third. Add to a bowl and mash with a fork. Add sour cream, cheese, chives, milk, garlic salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning, and add more milk to reach desired consistency.
Place back in the oven for 15 minutes or until crusty brown on top.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler

This week's recipe was chosen by Amanda by Like Sprinkles on a Cupcake. I have grown up eating lots of rhubarb because it's one of my mom's favorites, so I was happy to be able to make it on my own for once! I was suprised that Dorie said cooked cherries have no flavor, because I thought they had tons... but she was right! They really didn't have much flavor in the end. I guess the 'flavor' i'm used to is from canned pie filling, packed with sugar and artificial flavoring...yum! So anyway, I loved this for a few reasons, one is because I always sub in a little whole wheat flour when baking, and this already had that, which I liked. Another was because it allowed me to be a genius for a day and figure out a quick and easy way to remove the pits from the cherries - with a straw! And lastly, I was able to put my husband to work! Removing cherry pits, no problem! See photos below :) Thanks, Amanda, for picking a great recipe!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Raspberry Crowned Triple Chocolate Brownies

I knew that for the final dessert, I had to make something chocolate. I thought brownies would be simplest, but I wanted to jazz them up somehow, and add fruit. I took this recipe for Triple Chocolate Brownies, and added my own finish touches - a layer of raspberry jam, and raspberry crowns on top. They baked off beautifully, cut very well, and were definitely a chocoholics dream. They might be my new go to brownie.
(I quadrupled the recipe and made it in 1/2 sheet pan, cut into 120 brownie bites)

Triple Chocolate Brownies with Raspberry Crowns
(Brownies from Gourmet Magazine)

6 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a metal bowl, set over a pan of barely simmering water melt the bittersweet chocolate and the unsweetened chocolate with the butter, stirring until the mixture is smooth, remove the bowl from the heat, and let the mixture cool until it is lukewarm. Stir in the sugar and the vanilla and add the eggs, 1 at a time, stirring well after each addition. Stir in the salt and the flour, stirring until the mixture is just combined, and stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into a well-buttered and floured 13 by 9-inch baking pan, smooth the top, and bake the mixture in the middle of a preheated 350 degrees F. oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a tester comes out with crumbs adhering to it. Let the mixture cool completely in the pan on a rack and cut it into 24 bars.

Spread raspberry jam over sheet of brownies, let dry a bit, cut into squares, and top with raspberries.

Mixed Berry Tartelettes

For the second dessert, I wanted to make little tartlettes. Since I knew they'd be outside, I had to use jam as the filling, rather than a cream or custard.
I loved the TWD Strawberry Tart, so I made them and then used some chopped strawberries and blueberries as well.
I used my sugar cookie recipe as the shell rather than a pie crust. Making the shells was a bit tedious, but they came out so cute!
1 recipe of cookie dough made 100 tartelettes.

1 recipe of cookie dough
1 pint of blueberries
35 small strawberries
1 c. chopped strawberries
1 large jar of raspberry jam

Pina Colada Cupcakes

Last summer, I made Ina's coconut cupcakes, and loved them. Then, for Maggie and Justin's wedding cake, I thought how about I make that as the cake, and fill it with a pineapple and rum mixture, so it's like a pina colada. Well, it worked out wonderfully for their wedding cake. So when my mom asked me to make some fruity finger food desserts, they came to might right away.
Since they were outside in the 90 degree heat, I used a bit of shortening in my buttercream, and I topped these with toasted coconut.

Pina Colada Cupcakes

Ina's Coconut CupCakes:
3 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
5 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
7 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar on high speed until it's fluffy, and almost white. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time. Add the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in coconut.
Spoon into 24 cupcake wrappers, bake for 25 minutes.

Pineapple Rum Filling:
1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple
4 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1/2 c. dark spiced rum

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add pineapples and rum, bring to a simmer and cook off alcohol. Stir in salt, cornstarch, and butter, cook and stir constantly until no longer milky in color. Cool in fridge.

Coconut Vanilla Buttercream
*shortening is used to keep the icing from melting, if temperatures are moderate or cake doesn't need to travel, it can be omitted and everything can be scaled back)
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1/2 cup white shortening
2 lbs. confectioners sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup coconut milk

Beat together butter and shortening. Add extracts and salt. Alternate sugar and water, using more coconut milk if necessary to loosen up icing for easy spreading.

Top cupcakes with toasted coconut (I spread it on a sheet pan and watch it under the broiler)

Dessert Finger Foods!

This weekend my mom is having a big BBQ and asked me to make some desserts that are smaller and can withstand the heat. She requested that everything be fruity, since it’s summer. I came up with three things I could make bite-sized, and she loved them:

Raspberry Crowned Triple Chocolate Brownies

Mixed Berry Tartelettes

Pina Colada Cupcakes

Friday, July 18, 2008

Arugula, Goat Cheese, Walnut and Pear Salad

I found so many wonderful hearty stew like dishes for my French cooking, but not enough light ones until I decided to just put a few popular food items together into a salad and make up my own French food. I read that Arugula, Goat Cheese (or Chevre), Pear, and Walnuts are all often used, so I decided to make a salad with it.
The goat cheese I had on hand was Cinnamon and Cranberry, originally for my Crepes, but I forgot about it! I figured to match it with pears would highlight the sweetness, and and arugula to balance out the spice. This salad was delicious and very simple.

Arugula, Goat Cheese, Pear and Walnut Salad

4 c. organic baby arugula
1 pear, diced
2 oz. cinnamon cranberry goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 c. walnuts
1/4 c. dressing of choice, or just a splash of champagne vinegar and EVOO

Arrange salad and enjoy.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Fettucini with Roquefort, Lemon and Rosemary

I found this simple pasta recipe in a cookbook I got to guide me in my French cooking by Patricia Wells, a chef who is known for her French cuisine. It looked basic, really showcasing the flavors of the star ingredients. When I read through the ingredients, I was a bit curious how so many strong flavors would go together, but it was delicious.

Patricia calls for dry fettuccini in the pasta, but I made a fresh whole wheat blend pasta. I had a tough time finding Roquefort, and I think any blue cheese could be substituted.

Fettucini with Roquefort, Lemon Zest and Rosemary

Adapted from At Home in Provence

1 lb. fettuccini

1 tbsp. EVOO

1 tbsp. butter

1 tbsp. Fresh Rosemary, chopped

Zest of 1 lemon

½ c. crumbed Roquefort

1 tbsp. fresh grated nutmeg

½ c. reserved pasta water


¾ c. whole wheat flour

¾ c. all purpose flour

2 eggs

Prepare pasta by mixing flours and making a well in the center. Crack in eggs and mix to combine. Knead, add flour or water to reach desired consistency. Let dough sit for 10 minutes.

Roll through a pasta roller into long strips of dough, let the dough rest again for 10 minutes.

Roll through the cutters into fettuccini, or roll into a log and slice into thicker ribbons.

Toss with flour and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt heavily.

Drop in pasta, and cook for 4 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving ½ c. of the water.

Drop back into the pot, add remaining ingredients (set some aside for garnish if desired) except pasta water. Toss to incorporate, if dry, add some of the pasta water. Plate and serve immediately.

(I ate this with my Ratatouille)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ratatouille's Ratatouille with Cannelinis

Ever since I saw Ratatouille last winter, I've been wanting to make it. I wasn't sure if it's a summer dish or a winter one, because it's made with summer vegetables, but is warm and hearty and almost stew like. Well, even though it was in the high 80's today, I went ahead and made it! I looked at quite a few recipes, and got a general idea of what to do, so I made up my own recipe, adding cannelini beans for some protein, and layered it for stage presence.

Ratatouille’s Ratatouille with Cannelini’s

1 can of diced tomatoes, slightly drained

3 cloves of garlic, shamshed into pieces

1/2 tsp. thyme

1/4 tsp. fennel seeds

Salt and Pepper

1 can of Cannelini beans, drained

1 thin eggplant

1 thin zucchini

1 thin yellow squash

1 red bell pepper

Salt and pepper

Fresh thyme, for garnish

Cheese for topping

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Gently mix tomatoes, garlic, thyme, fennel, salt, pepper, and beans in the bottom of a casserole dish.

Slice the squash, eggplant, zucchini and bell pepper very thin, or use a mandoline. Layer them on top of the tomato mixture.

Cover and place in the oven, bake for 45 minutes. If the dish looks too wet, remove the cover and bake for another 15 minutes uncovered. Do not let the vegetables get brown, they should just be softened. The tomato mixture should be bubbling up around the veggies.

Let it sit for a few minutes, then serve, topped with fresh thyme and cheese.

Monday, July 14, 2008

TWD Chocolate Pudding

Doesn't everyone eat pudding out of a martini glass?

This week's TWD recipe was chosen by Melissa of It's Melissa's Kitchen. I never really knew how pudding was made, so I'm so glad she chose this recipe. After all, the reason I joined TWD was so I would learn how to make all kinds of sweets from scratch!

This pudding was truly delicious, so creamy and wonderful. It's a bit of work when you can just buy a packet and mix it with milk.... but it's worth it!

I topped mine with some whipped cream and black berries, but it's divine by itself.

Nutella and Black Currant Filled Crepes with Berries and Creme

For dinner this week, I’ll be making French food. My first meal is a breakfast for dinner. I’ve never had crepes, or made them, so I figured now’s the time to try them out! My younger sister always orders fruit crepes when we go to brunch, so I took that idea and also added a few others.
I read that currants and jam are very popular in French cuisine, and Nutella is a common crepe filler, so I made nutella and black currant jam filled crepes with mixed berries and crème.
I recently saw an episode of Good Eats where Alton taught crepe making, so I went with his recipe and method. I also baked some eggs with Herbs de Provence and leeks, but they're not pictured. I hope you enjoy this French brunch!

(The Stars of the Crepes)

Basic Crepes, from Alton Brown

2 large eggs

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup water

1 cup flour

3 tablespoons melted butter

Butter, for coating the pan

Nutella and Black Currant Jam

Whipped Cream

Mixed Berries

In a blender, combine all of the ingredients and pulse for 10 seconds. Place the crepe batter in the refrigerator for 1 hour. This allows the bubbles to subside so the crepes will be less likely to tear during cooking. The batter will keep for up to 48 hours. Heat a small non-stick pan. Add butter to coat. Pour 1 ounce of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly. Cook for 30 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove to the cutting board. Lay them out flat so they can cool. Continue until all batter is gone.

Fill each crepe with a tablespoon full of either nutella or jam, fold in half, then over again. Top with berries and cream.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bistro Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette

Ever since I saw Liv's Blueberry Vinaigrette, I've been CRAVING it. Luckily I have pounds of blueberries to use (of which most are gone....) so I made this fruity salad with Liv's AMAZING dressing. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
10 slices of cucumber
1/2 green apple, sliced
1/4 c. dried cranberries
1/4 c. walnuts
1/4 c. Blueberry Vinaigrette, recipe follows

½ c. Champagne Vinegar
1/2 c. Olive oil
1 pint fresh blueberries
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp finely ground white pepper
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
*I used only 2 tbsp. EVOO and added extra yogurt

Arrange salad in a bowl, top with dressing
Note - I used much more dressing than the photo shows, basically I just ate a bowl of dressing :)

Norwegian Onion and Jarlsberg Pie

For dinner tonight, I knew I wanted to make a salad with Liv's blueberry dressing, but I had to fine something to go with it. I decided on this Norwegian Pie because it was nice and light, like the salad. I changed it up from the recipe a bit by using Phyllo instead of puff pastry to save some calories. When I make phyllo layers, I use nonstick cooking spray and light butter between every 3 layers rather than each layer. I also used light Jarlsberg instead of regular.

Onion and Jarlsberg Pie

3 onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs of thyme
Salt and Pepper
1 c. shredded Jarlsberg lite
1 phyllo pie shell

In a large nonstick skillet, cook onions over medium with 1 tbsp EVOO. Drop in bay, thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Cook stirring occastionally for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place half of onions on the shell, top with half of the cheese, repeat.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

My Green Thumb 2

3 poblanos growing nicely, and some red cherry tomatoes!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Parmesan Crabcakes and New Potato Salad with Green Beans

For dinner this week, I’ll be cooking from Norway. I am taking the same approach I did with Ireland, using a newer cookbook that creates gourmet dishes, using Norwegian ingredients, because traditional recipes just aren’t as appealing to me.

For our first night, I found a recipe for crab cakes that looked good. JJ’s obsessed with crab cakes, so I knew they’d make him happy. The few other times I’ve made them, I used a Creole recipe from Emeril, but this recipe was quite different, really showcasing the actual crab. I didn’t eat them, but JJ said they were outstanding.

I was drawn to the potato salad because it screamed summer to me, all of the fresh herbs in a lemon vinaigrette, it was delicious! It really cleaned out my areo garden! It was extremely herb-y, but not overkill, in my opinion. The lemon really balanced it, and the capers added a nice bit of salt.

These recipes are both from Kitchen of Light by Andreas Viestad.

Parmesan Crab cakes with New Potato and Green Bean Salad

6 oz. lump crab, picked over for shells
1 egg white
¼ c. panko bread crumbs
¼ c. chopped parsley
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ c. parmesan cheese, shaved
EVOO for frying

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, form into 4 patties.

Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium high, add EVOO to coat, drop cakes in. Brown on first side, about 5 minutes, and flip. Brown on the second side for 4 minutes. Plate with extra parmesan and parsley.

New Potato Salad with Green Beans:

1 lb. new potatoes, quartered
1 lb. fresh green beans, ends snapped
2 cloves garlic, pasted with salt
2 tbsp. capers
¼ c. fresh herbs, chopped, such as parsley, mint, dill, basil, and thyme
Zest and Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. EVOO
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Place potatoes in a large pot of cold water, cover and bring to a boil. Cook for about 10 minutes, until just under fork tender. Add green beans to the pot and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain beans and potatoes into a colander, set aside and bring to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, combine garlic, capers, herbs, lemon, vinegar, EVOO, and salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Add potatoes and beans, fold dressing mixture over and mix, be careful to not break potatoes. Serve at room temperature.

fistfuls of fresh herbs...yum!

TWD Double Crusted Blueberry Pie

This week's TWD recipe was Double Crusted Blueberry Pie, chosen by Amy. This pie was delicious! I really liked how the filling came together. I made my pie with light butter in the crust, but otherwise followed the recipe. I think I used too many blueberries, because I didn't know how to measure pints from my 5 lb. bag :) But doesn't the oozing blueberry goodness look divine!?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Coming soon....

(This is about 5 lbs.)
11 lbs. of Blueberries. Yes, that's how I spent my 4th of July.
I decided to go home to Cincinnati for one reason alone, blueberry picking with my mom at Rousters. They're only open for u-pick for 4 hours one day a year, and that was July 5th from 8-12. I had no idea how cut throat u-pick was. I thought my mom was crazy, telling me we'd need to leave the house by 7am, getting there at 7:30 to get in line. Really, mom, a line?! Well... it was maddness. The morning was gorgeous, the bushes were full and the berries were giant, sweet, and plentiful. I ate 3 berries while picking, and picked around 11 pounds. Mom picked 10 or so, but ate 3 I'm sure, so we ended up with 18.12 lbs. together.
I can't wait to make some delicious blueberry treats this week, including pie, dressing, and many other greats. Any ideas??? Leave me some comments :)

Greek Salad

Summer is all about dinner salads, keeping the kitchen cool, and enjoying the fresh produce! When I was home, my dad gave me a cucumber from his garden, yes, he's already picking zucchini, cucumbers, and broccoli! I'm a little bit behind.... anyway, cucumbers go best in a Greek salad in my mind, so I put my little twist on the traditional Greek salad. Enjoy!

Greek-ish Dinner Salad

1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 cucumber, peeled and sliced
2 vine ripened tomatoes, quartered
10 kalamatta olives (i only had spanish)
1/2 c. fat free feta, divided in half
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled and sliced
1/4 c. dressing, recipe follows

Feta and Herb Dressing
2 tbsp. greek or plain yogurt
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. EVOO
1 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. chopped fresh mint
1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
salt and pepper
1/4 c. feta cheese crumbles

Arrange salad in a bowl. Mix all dressing ingredients until well blended. Pour over salad and serve.

Original Hummus and Whole Wheat Pita

I wanted to have something to go along with the salad that was a starch and a protein, and naturally hummus and pita came to mind. Since I learned to make pita from scratch, it's something I make often. Fresh bread is so much better than store bought, and the house smells delicious!

Hummus and Whole Wheat Pita

Original Hummus:
1 can organic garbanzo beans, lightly drained
2 tbsp. tahini
1 garlic clove, smashed
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
EVOO to thin hummus

Blend all ingredients in a blender, food processor or magic bullet. Add EVOO until it reaches desired consistency. Serve at room temp, store in the refrigerator.

Whole Wheat Pita:
1 packet active dry yeast
1 c. warm water
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. EVOO
2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. white flour (or more, for rolling too)

Pour water, yeast and sugar into mixer bowl. Let it sit for 10 minutes until it blooms.
Using dough hook attachment, begin to mix. Add EVOO, salt, and flour. Knead for 10 minutes. Cover with a damp towel, set in a warm place for an hour or two, until doubled.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, place sheet pan in the oven.
Divide dough into 8 pieces. Roll into 6" disks. Place them 4 at a time on the pan already in the oven, cook for 3-4 minutes, until puffed. Remove and eat right away.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Slimmed Down Pesto, Pasta and Peas

Since my husband is working late tonight and is getting a $5 footlong… I get to make my favorite go-to/standby, pasta with pesto and peas! I probably eat this meal once a week, either for lunch or dinner, a side or a main course… it doesn’t matter, I love it! Since I eat it so often, I’ve found a few ways to slim it down.

While pesto doesn’t seem to fat and calorie laden, it is! EVOO is very good for you, but it is high in calories and fat, especially when paired with parmesan and pine nuts! I also don’t like oil tastes, so I’ve made my own sort-of pesto that is low in fat and calories, but still very flavorful!

To round out this meal, try adding some stuffed chicken, found here, or chicken meatballs, found here.

Slimmed Down Basil Pesto with Peas and Penne for One
¼ lb. mini penne
1 c. frozen peas
½ c. slimmed down pesto, recipe follows
Slimmed down pesto:
1 c. packed basil leaves
1 garlic clove, smashed
2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
¼ c. chicken or vegetable stock

Bring a pot of water to a boil, salt heavily. Add pasta. Cook until it is 1 minute from ready, drop in peas. Cook for 1 minute, drain, and add back to the pot.

While pasta boils, add all pesto ingredients to a food processer, blender, or my favorite, the magic bullet. Pulse until combined and desired consistency is reached. (You may need more or less stock).

Pour down over the pasta to heat through, serve with a bit more parmesan grated on top. If you pasta is too dry, add more stock with the pesto already mixed in, if it’s too wet, let it cook a bit on the stove to dry out, mix well while it’s heating through.

Apple Cheddar Scones

This week, Karina of The Floured Apron chose Apple Cheddar Scones. I was thrilled because I love apple and cheddar paired together! I also was able to double duty these, because I had them for breakfast Sunday during the race in New Hampshire. When I was younger, my family would go apple picking in New England, and apples and apple cider remind me of those days!

The recipe called for apple cider, but it's not on sale right now, so I used Simply Apple. It's not exactly cider, but it is much more flavorful than apple juice. I found dried apples in the bulk bin at our local co-op health food store. I also used 4 tbsp. of light butter instead of 8 tbsp. of regular, you can find the recipe over at Karina's blog if you'd like to see!

I really enjoyed these scones, and I will for sure make them again!