Sunday, May 30, 2010

Long time no blog

It really seems like forever. This week was so hectic, with so many things going on: American Idol in Hollywood for 3 days, my daughter turning 17, My son getting his permit, the street fair in Santee... I really have not cooked for almost a full week and that is sad. Both on my body (I gain weight if I eat out), and my soul. Today I am going massive grocery shopping and I cannot wait to get back in the groove of things.  I still have to make my daughter her cake. We ate out at PF Changs for her birthday on the way home from Hollywood and she had a little mini red velvet cake. But she wants my homemade strawberry cake, so today that will be done. I am cooking a lot of things tonight One of the appetizers I am making for tonight is
Mini Rice Croquettes.
Several events I have been to in the past have had these, I made them once almost 3 years ago and I just randomly felt like making them again:

For the risotto:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup diced canned tomatoes
2 to 3 cups homemade chicken broth or best-quality fat-free, low-sodium canned chicken broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

To make the croquettes:
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, lightly beaten with a pinch of salt
1-1/2 to 2 cups unseasoned dry bread crumbs
1 (8-ounce) ball of fresh mozzarella
vegetable or olive oil (not extra-virgin) for frying

 Make the risotto:

Heat the butter and oil in aheavy-bottomed saucepan placed over medium-low heat. When the butter has melted, add the onion and stir to coat thoroughly. Sauté the onion, stirring frequently, for 7 to 8 minutes, until it is soft and translucent. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the wine. Let it bubble for a minute or so, and then stir in the rice. When the liquid has nearly all been absorbed, add the diced tomatoes and stir to combine everything thoroughly.

Reduce the heat to medium and add 2 cups of broth, stirring to combine well. Cook the rice at a gentle simmer, reducing the heat to medium-low if necessary, and stirring often. Taste the rice for doneness after 20 minutes of cooking. It should be tender but still a little firm at the center of each kernel. Add additional broth if necessary.

When the rice is cooked, remove it from the stove and stir in the basil, salt and pepper, and Parmigiano. Let the mixture cool for about 5 minutes before stirring in the lightly beaten eggs, taking care to add the eggs a bit at a time and to stir the mixture vigorously to prevent them from scrambling.

Turn the rice mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet or large glass baking dish and spread it out with a spatula to help it cool quickly. Cover with foil and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

To shape the croquettes:

Place the flour, lightly beaten eggs, and bread crumbs in three separate shallow bowls. Cut the mozzarella into 1/2-inch-thick slices and then cut the slices into 1/2-inch cubes (you may have leftover cheese depending on the individual size of the croquettes).

Remove the rice from the refrigerator and scoop up a rounded tablespoonful into the palm of your hand. Press a cube of mozzarella into the center of the rice and shape the mound into a ball or an oval, making sure that the cheese is completely encased in the center. Roll the rice ball in the flour, gently shaking off the excess. Transfer the rice ball to the bowl of beaten eggs and, using a fork, roll it around to coat it thoroughly. Transfer the croquette to the bowl of bread crumbs and roll it around several times (with your fingers or a fork) until it is thoroughly coated. Place the rice ball on a large rimmed baking sheet or platter.

Continue to make the croquettes in this way until you have used up all the rice; you should have about 24 balls that are slightly larger than golf balls. When you are finished, loosely cover the baking sheet or platter with aluminum foil and refrigerate the croquettes for at least 30 minutes and up to several hours.

To fry the croquettes:
Pour enough vegetable oil into a deep frying pan or straight-sided sauté pan to measure 1 inch. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it registers 350°F on a candy thermometer. Carefully lower 6 rice balls into the pan and fry them for 3 to 4 minutes, turning them several times for even browning, until they are a deep golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove the rice balls to a platter lined with paper towels to drain. (Alternatively, you can place a brown paper shopping bag near the stove and remove the cooked rice balls to the bag to drain before placing them on a serving platter.) Continue until all of the croquettes have been fried.

Arrange the croquettes on a warmed ceramic platter or other decorative platter and serve immediately.
Or just serve them.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Chart House, Sailing, Fundraiser... = Leftovers carne asada burritos

Last night my son Jordan informed me that he has grown out of all but one pair of his jeans. The once "shorty" is now measuring in at 6 feet tall! I cannot believe it. So I am heading out today to pick up some jeans for him, if I can find any. The hard part is his waist is 28 inches and he needs extra long jeans, so that equals big bucks. His jeans cost more than mine!!! Don't you love it how kids tell you AFTER the fact. This same boy of mine makes me PAY him to get a haircut. He refuses to get one without me paying him. Thanks Grandma for starting that tradition.

Tonight we are blessed to have Taylor and Jordan's Grandparents here from out of town. They are the best Grandparents a child could ever wish for. They are coming to take us to dinner tonight at the Chart house on the ocean in Cardiff. So I obviously won't be cooking today Then tomorrow, to hopefully pay them back, we are taking them out on our sailboat for the day. A nice day in the bay with cocktails and great people equals lots of relaxing fun for me. They are coming back and taking the kids to Ontario with them for Friday and Saturday night so they can have quality alone time with their Grandkids. My kids think of them as second parents. You have no idea how thankful I am for them. Roger and Terry... Thank you so much for all you do! You are such a light in this world.

So Friday night I will have been sailing all day and we have so much tri-tip left, I plan on just making quick carne asada burritos (easy peasy)with the leftover meat.
to do this I:
  • Cut the meat with a steak knife across into thin strips. Cut across the strips so the meat comes out in small pieces..
  • Place the meat in the bowl, and squirt 1 lime juice over it. I let marinade for about 15 minutes, this just makes the cooked meat more tender. Remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Lightly sprinkle the meat with the salt and pepper.
  • Get a flour tortilla.
  • Place the tortilla on a large plate and put a few heaping tablespoons of the meat in a thick line on the edge closest to you.
  • Add some salsa and cheese on top of the line of meat.
  • Starting with this edge, roll the tortilla over the meat mixture once. Fold the edges to the right and left of the meat mixture toward each other until they're snug against the roll of meat.
  • Continue to roll the tortilla until it becomes a tight cylinder. Repeat with remaining tortillas
  • Microwave on 50% power for 3minutes. tada!
  • I top mine with sour cream and fresh cilantro.
That is it, that is all you are getting from me until Sunday, because Saturday night is that big fundraiser dinner party... so once again I won't be cooking. Hey, I can't cook if I am not home!  However, I am told the tables and party are going to be amazing and it is being catered, so I will probably blog about that. Happy weekend everyone, cuz mine starts today!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Margarita Meat

Today FLEW by! By 9am I was down in Miramar with my dear friend Maria buying items for the fundraiser this weekend. I am hosting a table (which means you decorate it and bring dishes, decor etc...) Maria offered to help me, and her friend Janet, who is becoming my friend as well, got us into her wholesale decor place. Long story short, after a morning of shopping, a wonderful lunch at Los Olas (best mexican food), I am prepared for this weekends fundraiser. Then I had to come home and get caught up on work. Life is busy in the dog clothes world. By 4pm I was in a frenzy. My husband who loves to hoard things, struck once again. After 30 minutes of me dragging various items to the curb for tomorrow's trash day, I was ready to take on dinner. Lovely evening, corn is in season... time for tri-tip. All you need is:

I had soaked my corn overnight. So this meal took me 30 minutes from start to finish.
 Lightly tenderize the steak. I use my awesome tenderizer It is by Jaccard and it just puts little slits in the meat.

I then pour tequila, probably 1/4 cup over the meat. I rub lightly with rock salt. 1 TB total on both sides. Use the juices of one lime. Sprinkle Cholula seasoning powder and pepper. Marinate while you bringTri-tip to room temperature while heating up the grill. Heat up stove and put 1 TB olive oil in it. Sear each side of tri-tip.

Grill until desired. 5 min each side for rare. 10 min each side Med. 15 min each side for well done.

Corn I have posted before. 20 minutes on the grill. Tada! Dinner.
Ok so it wasn't one of my large gourmet meals. But I had to throw it together quickly. The husband is sick with what I had last weekend... STILL... seems to take him twice as long to heal. So I was the garbage lady, Cook, Business owner, Worker, Fundraiser Queen, Mother and Father today. Hats off.. I am happy with my quick meal. And it was scrumptious.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Kick Sickness Soup

I have been making this mexican spicy soup for a long time now. It really does kick any sickness' rear. The problem is, I tend to be the one sick. I need to make some and freeze it for when I get sick next time. We have been fighting a bad flu bug here. Jordan, Me, Randy have all got it. Taylor is the only one who fought it off... so far. So my appetite is back, but shaky. I am making my soup because it is good, and I know it helps knock out illness.

Here is the tricky part. In the past I never measure. I just add and keep tasting. So I am going to attempt to give you a baseline on how to make it. The base is really simple.
100 oz of chicken broth + 50 oz water in an extra large saucepan.Bring to a boil.
Add 4 Chicken breasts and 2 cups uncooked Jasmine Rice.
1 TB salt
1 TB pepper
1 TB italian seasoning
Cover and cook until chicken is tender and falling apart. (Usually 20 - 30 min)

On the side chop up cilantro, jalepeno, onion, avocado.
Serve up a bowl of the cooked chicken and rice soup, on top put raw jalepeno, cilantro, onion and avocado. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

scones aux fraises

We have friends coming from Oregon today! I have been busy with work, but I wanted to make something ahead of time for a breakfast or snack/dessert item with all of my Strawberries.

Scones instantly came to mind, but I wanted to make Fresh Strawberry Scones. I had a heck of a time finding any recipe that suited what I wanted to make. I tend to not like anything with cooked chunks of fruit, and wanting to use fresh strawberries, not jam. I just wanted the flavor of my fresh strawberries to come through. Finally after going through a ton of recipes that just were not going to work, I created my own

scones aux fraises
or simply translated: 
Strawberry Scones
2 cups gluten free flour
3 TB. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
4 TB. butter, cold, cut into 1/2 in. cubes
3/4 cup Pureed strawberries
1/4 cup plain yogurt

 leftover strawberry puree (just a hint that is left after you poured it into the bowl)
2 TB. half and half
confectioner's sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Stir together dry ingredients. With a pastry cutter , cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in strawberry puree and 1/4 cup yogurt.
3. Turn dough onto floured surface and with floured hands, knead a few times. Press dough into a rectangle, about 1 1/2 inches thick. Fold Rectangle into thirds, like a letter. Cut into 8 equal triangles.

4. Place scones into scone pan or on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Remove to rack to cool.
5. Whisk strawberry leftovers, confectioner's sugar into half and half, adding more sugar until desired consistency is reached. Frost scones while warm.
Makes 8 scones.

I also made strawberry cake for an after dinner treat. I also have enough for some strawberry shortcake too. Now watch, they will be allergic to strawberries. That would be my luck.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Vin rouge Bifteck mariné au prosciutto, fontina et basilic avec le Cabernet-échalote de réduction

I am so happy to be back in my kitchen and getting into the regular groove again. Last night I opened a wine that wasn't my favorite. So I poured it back in the bottle and decided I would make something for dinner tonight that used up the not so friendly wine that will be perfect for cooking, but not so perfect for drinking. I have a collection of 2 bottles now that I have done this with over the past week. Perfect. I will use that up no problem.  They had so many specials on steak this week I am totally set. Did I mention my grocery bill for the last several weeks has not topped $175. I am feeding anywhere from 8 to 10 people with this budget. My favorite special this Sunday was Strawberries. I am making a lot of Strawberry items this week because It was $2 for 4lbs of strawberries. Yum. Ok on to dinner:

Vin rouge Bifteck mariné au prosciutto, fontina et basilic avec le Cabernet-échalote de réduction
Translated: Red Wine Marinated Steak with Prosciutto, Fontina and Basil with Cabernet-Shallot Reduction

4 shallots, coarsely chopped
1 cup dry red wine, such as Cabernet
1/4 cup olive oil
2 pounds steak, trim off fat and butterfiled
Salt and pepper
1/4-pound thinly sliced bacon
1/4-pound thinly sliced fontina cheese
14 fresh basil leaves
Olive oil
Cabernet-Shallot Reduction, recipe follows

Whisk together shallots, wine and olive oil in a large baking dish. Add the steak and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Remove the steak from the marinade and blot with paper towels. Lay on a flat surface, cut side up, and season with salt and pepper. Cover the surface with the bacon slices, then top with the cheese and a layer of basil leaves.

Starting with the side facing you, tightly roll up the steak around the filling. Using kitchen string, tie the roll in 2 places.

Brush the outside of the steak with oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook steak in skillet over high heat until browned all over, 8 to 10 minutes. Turn the steak 4 times as it cooks. Put Steak in oven at 350 degrees 15 to 20 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 125 degrees F for medium-rare. Remove from the grill and let rest 5 minutes before slicing. Slice against the grain into 1/2-inch thick slices and drizzle with the Cabernet-Shallot Reduction.

Cabernet-Shallot Reduction:
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 shallots, finely chopped
1 bottle Cabernet wine
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon honey
Heat oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the shallots and cook until soft. Add the wine and peppercorns, bring to a boil and cook until thickened and reduced to 1 cup. Strain the mixture into a bowl and season with salt, to taste, and honey.

Keep in mind that if you are feeding a crowd, which it seems I am always doing these days, you will want to double the recipe. It is wonderful served over garlic mashed potatoes. I also made my garlic, butter Broccoli. Have to have the greens.
Everyone said this is to be part of my regular meal rotation.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Poulet rôti au citron et aux herbes avec pommes de terre

Monday. Enough said. I got all my work done and set out to make dinner, but got distracted by a ton of things. One of which being my fridge. Yuck. I guess it has been a while since I cleaned it. Having teenagers around all the time, They do not tell me when they spill. An hour later I have a clean fridge and am ready to get started on dinner. I am going for:
Poulet rôti au citron et aux herbes avec pommes de terre (Lemon And Herb Roasted Chicken With Potatoes)

1 (4 to 5 pound) free-range chicken

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, halved
1/4 bunch each fresh rosemary, thyme, parsley, oregano
1/4 cup olive oil
11/2 pounds potatoes
If using a reynolds oven bag Preheat the oven to 350.
If not Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Rinse the chicken with cool water, inside and out, and make sure to remove any giblets, neck etc... then pat it dry with paper towels. Season the cavity with salt and pepper, and then stuff the lemon, garlic, and herbs inside. Place the chicken, breast-side up, in a roasting pan. Toss the potatoes around the chicken. Season the whole thing with a fair amount of salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Roast the chicken and potatoes in around the chicken.

Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. If you don't use an oven bag, don't forget to baste the chicken with the drippings and rotate the pan every 20 minutes or so to insure a golden crispy skin. If you use a bag, you don't have to do anything but wait. The chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer says 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (the legs of the chicken should wiggle easily from the sockets too.) Remove the chicken to a platter and let stand for 10 minutes, so the juices settle back into the meat before carving. Serve with the roasted potatoes on the side.
Easy, quick and yummy.

I also made lemon garlic green beans because they accompany this dish nicely. Green beans, garlic, lemon, butter and olive oil. Cook for 15- 20 minutes.

I also made strawberry shortcake
It was a hit. 8 teenagers tonight

They all loved it.

Even Taylor and Tots had 2nds. haha

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

For Mother's day my kids and husband asked me what I wanted to do, where I wanted to eat...etc.. My reply was. "I want to get in my jammies, lay in bed and eat junk food while I watch tv." Guess what I am doing today! I have my night shirt on that says: "Mommy's taking a timeout". My daughter brought me a breakfast bagel with eggs, cheese, sausage (something I stay away from since it probably has all my daily calories in just that one meal). For lunch, my husband is bringing me Pei Wei Pad Thai. We will see if my stomache will be able to handle dinner. In the meantime, no new recipes today. I am taking the day off. Happy Mother's day to all the Mom's out there!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Cranky, time for cake

Have you ever had one of those days, weeks, months? Well today I had all of them combined. My day was actually good, just my body was achey and I don't feel well. I need comfort food. Sometimes it is the only thing that will do. I follow a cute blog I had yet to ever make one of her recipes. So I decided today was the day. I know I have to eat other things besides cake or I would end up feeling worse. My husband spent $90 on olive oil and balsamic vinegar last week at the farmers market. So I made some italian bread from scratch... good enough! But anyway, back to the cake... I adapted this recipe from the above blog. As always I changed it up. But the base idea is from her. Her cakes/cookies etc.. always look so amazing. So here is my attempt at her "cupcake that almost made her cry"... but my version of it of course.

First use:
1 (14-ounce) can NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Sweetened Condensed Milk
Pour sweetened condensed milk into top of double-boiler pan; cover. Place over boiling water. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 60 to 75 minutes, or until thick and light caramel-colored. Remove from heat. Beat until smooth I added chocolate chips, no nuts, to make chocolate caramel.

Make Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup cooled, strong coffee
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F In a large bowl, stir together the flour, 3/4 cup cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.Make a well in the center and pour in the eggs, coffee, buttermilk and oil. Stir like crazy until smooth.. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly.Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, about 25 minutes. Cool

Caramel Ganache:

1 pkg. chewy Werthers caramels unwrapped and chopped into thirds
1 Cup cream
8 ounces dark chocolate chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
4 Tbsp. butter

Heat cream in medium heavy bottomed saucepan until boiling, turn heat to medium, add caramels and stir until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat, add chocolate and carefully stir until smooth, add butter in 4 additions stirring until smooth.

Vanilla Buttercream
1/2 lb. unsalted butter (softened)
1 stick salted butter (softened)
1/2 pkg. french vanilla instant pudding mix (a cheat, I know, but I was in a hurry and it rocks!)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup (or more to suit your tastes) powdered sugar

In mixer set on medium speed, beat the butter until smooth and silky. Turn the speed to low and add the pudding mix, when it is all incorporated, slowly add the cream, a little at a time. When fully incorporated bring speed up to high and beat for 5-7 minutes. Turn speed back down to low and add powdered sugar, continue beating until fluffy.

To assemble, you cut a cone out of the center of each cupcake. Then fill it with the chocolate caramel. I topped with a chocolate chip.

Then I topped the cupcakes with the buttercream and the caramel chocolate ganache.

According to Taylor, the best cupcake she ever had.

Taylor and Kelsey had 2.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

HOLY Cannolis

I have never had a Cannolis before. It is usually something I see on the dessert tray at a fancy restaurant that I plan to order, but then am too full by the time the dessert tray comes around. So I decided to make them. I bought these cannoli forms a while back and this is my first chance to use them. Nifty little tools. I did learn you gotta take extra care and make sure the dough is on their firm, or it opens like a taco instead of a tube.

For the shells I adapted several recipes and came up with this:

1 1/3 cups flour
1 tablespoon shortening
1 pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
white wine (chardonnay)


Mix together flour, shortening, salt and sugar.
Add enough wine to make a stiff but workable dough.

Roll dough into a ball and let it stand for about 1 hour.
Roll dough out 1/8 inch thick.
Cut rolled dough into 5x5 inch squares.
Place a cannoli tube across dough square on an angle (from top left corner to bottom right corner).

wrap one corner around the tube, then the other (which should overlap the first).
Press together to seal seam.
Fry in deep fat, one at a time, until deep golden brown.
Carefully remove fried cannoli shell from tube.
Cool completely before filling.

For the filling:
2 cups Ricotta Inpastata cheese
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons rum
1/2 pound semisweet chocolate, melted


In a mixing bowl, whisk the cheese, sugar, vanilla and rum. Mix well. Fill a pastry bag with the cheese mixture. Fill each cannoli shell with about 1/4 cup of the filling. Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Dip each end of the cannoli in the melted chocolate. Drizzle chocolate over the remaining middle.

Here is my daughter enjoying the Cannoli

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