25Aug/130

August: Frozen Month – Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Baby Bella Mushrooms

Frozen month for me has been HARD. That's why you haven't seen anything yet. But, we've decided that if it comes from your freezer at some point, you can use it. (Or goes into your freezer.) So, I dug around and found a package of bacon that needed to be used and came up with a recipe for Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Baby Bella Mushrooms. These were a HUGE hit, even with the non-mushroom eaters in the house. They make for a perfect and easy appetizer or even a party hor d'oeuvres.
Ingredients:

  • 4oz - Cream Cheese
  • 9 Slices - Favorite Bacon (Approximately)
  • 10oz - Whole Baby Bella Mushrooms (Stems removed)
  • 1 - Garlic Clove (Minced)
  • 1 - Shallot (Minced)
  • 1/4 Tsp - Worcestershire (More to taste if you wish)

Process:

  1. Combine cream cheese, shallot, garlic, and Worcestershire in a blender.
  2. Pipe (or spoon) cream cheese mix into caps of the baby bella mushrooms.
  3. Wrap each stuffed mushroom in 3/4 to 1 whole slice of bacon. (Depends on the size of your mushroom caps.)
  4. Bake on a baking sheet for 15-25 minutes at 350ºF. (Cook until cheese is melty and bacon has a nice crisp color to it.)

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31Jul/130

Recipe Challenge – July: Wine & Honey Roasted Pears with Chocolate Ganache & Whipped Cream

I like to watch cooking shows. Usually it's some sort of show Chef Ramsey is in. My favorite though is Master Chef. I love seeing what all of these non-professional home cooks can come up with. Once in awhile, a poached pear crosses the competition line, and it always looks freakin' fantastic. I wanted to make a version of my own for fruit month, and decided to go with Wine & Honey Roasted Pears with a Chocolate Ganache and Whipped Cream. Sounds a little more difficult than it really is. And, if you have guests over this recipe is easily doubled or tripled without creating a lot of extra work.
Ingredients:

Roasted Pears -

  • 2 to 3 - Firm but ripe pears
  • 2 Cups - Sauvignon blanc
  • 1 Cup - Water
  • 2.5 TBSP - Honey
  • 1/4 Cup - Granulated Sugar

Chocolate Ganache -

  • 1/2 Cup - Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 Cup - Semi Sweet Chocolate

Whipped Cream -

  • 1/2 Cup - Heavy Cream
  • 1 TBSP - Powdered Sugar

Process:

Roasted Pears -

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Combine honey, water, wine, and sugar in a sauce pan and bring to a slow boil. Continue to boil for 30 minutes until liquid has reduced by half.
  3. Peel, cut, and core pears. Place cut side up in a baking dish just big enough to hold the pears and the syrup.
  4. Pour syrup over pears and bake for 40 minutes. Turn pears every 10 minutes to insure even cooking in the syrup.
  5. Allow to cool a bit before serving with chocolate ganache and whipped cream. (If the pears are too hot everything will melt right off of them.)

Chocolate Ganache -

  1. Heat cream on low until it comes to a simmer.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate until fully melted and combined.

Whipped Cream -

  1. Beat the cream using the whisk attachment in your stand mixer until soft peaks form. (You can also do this by hand or use a hand mixer.)
  2. Fold in powdered sugar.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to use.

 

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29Jul/130

Recipe Challenge – July: Pan Fried Bananas with Vanilla Honey

I absolutely adore fried bananas. I think they're one of my favorite desserts. I've had them in Nepal, at a couple of Thai restaurants, and even had a version when I visited Puerto Rico. However, my absolute favorite way to eat them is pan fried in butter with a vanilla honey drizzle. They're super sweet, and hit the spot without packing in too many calories.
Ingredients:

  • 1 to 2 - Firm but ripe bananas
  • 2 TBSP - Salted Butter
  • 2 TBSP - Clover Honey
  • 1/2 Tsp - Vanilla Extract

Process:

  1. Slice Bananas into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces.
  2. Heat butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Place bananas in pan and allow to cook until the underside becomes dark-golden in color. (Approximately 1-2 minutes)
  4. Flip banana slices over and repeat.
  5. Heat over low the honey and vanilla.
  6. Drizzle over fried banana slices and serve hot.
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29Jul/130

Recipe Challenge: July – Eggs in Purgatory

Last night was a breakfast for dinner night. I wanted to do something easy that would undoubtedly taste good. I know my husband likes eggs with runny yolks, tomatoes, and bread. The Eggs in Purgatory recipe I found on Leite's Culinaria sounded like the PERFECT recipe to try out for dinner. Not to mention, it only takes 5 minutes to cook on the stove. OK, maybe 6. Hubby said it was GREAT and even my 2 year old loved it. Definitely a recipe to make again!
Ingredients:

  • 4 - Large Eggs
  • 14.5oz - Diced Tomatoes (1 Can)
  • 1/4 Tsp - Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 - Garlic Clove (Minced)
  • 1 TBSP - Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 - Loaf of Crusty Bread
  • Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

Process:

  1. Crack eggs into a small bowl. Make sure all shell pieces are removed. Set aside.
  2. Head a medium-large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil, red pepper flakes and minced garlic.
  3. Allow to cook for 1 minute until flavors become fragrant.
  4. Gently add in entire can of diced tomatoes.
  5. Carefully slip in eggs making sure to separate them a little. Don't cover the yolk with the tomato or juices unless you want a more solid yolk.
  6. Grate some Parmesan cheese over the whites and tomato.
  7. Partially cover and allow to cook for 5 minutes. (The tomato should be consistently bubbling.)
  8. When whites have mostly set, remove from heat, and grate some more Parmesan cheese.
  9. Serve warm with toasted crusty bread.
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28Jul/130

July: Fruit Challenge – Caprese Salad Amuse Bouche

One of my favorite things is when I find out that a term such as "amuse bouche" is something really quite simple. An amuse bouche is simply a single, bite-sized hors d’œuvre. That's it! If you're having a dinner party, this Caprese Salad amuse bouche is not only easy to make, but sounds uber fancy and looks stunning. I picked up these Japanese style bone china soup spoons on Amazon for $10 for a 12 piece set. Score!
Ingredients:

  • Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
  • Roma/Plum Tomatoes
  • Fresh Basil Leaves
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Glaze (I used Blaze Glaze)
  • Salt (Optional)

Process:

  1. Slice tomatoes into 1/8" to 1/4" thick slices and then quarter them.
  2. Slice fresh Mozzarella and then quarter each slice depending on the size.
  3. Thinly Julienne basil leaves.
  4. Assemble amuse bouche by layering tomato and mozzarella pieces.
  5. Top with basil.
  6. Lightly drizzle with EOO & a balsamic glaze. (You can easily make your own glaze by reducing balsamic vinegar down by half and allowing to thicken and cool.)
  7. Finish with a small pinch of salt if desired.
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27Jul/130

June: Fruit Challenge – Ricotta Pancake with Brown Sugar Cherry Sauce

I love trying out new pancake recipes. Just plain ol' pancakes are too bland and boring for me. This time I had about 2 cups of cherries I needed to use up before they all went bad, along with a cup of ricotta cheese just chillin' out in my fridge. This Ricotta Pancake with Brown Sugar Cherry Sauce recipe ended up working out perfectly!
Ingredients:

Cherry Sauce -

  • 2 Cups - Sweet Cherries (Pitted and Halved)
  • 3 TBSP - Brown Sugar (Packed)
  • 1 TBSP - Butter
  • 1/2 Cup - Water (Divided)
  • 2 Tsp - Corn Starch
  • Lemon Juice to Taste

Ricotta Pancakes -

  • 3/4 Cup - All Purpose Flour
  • 1 TBSP - Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Tsp - Salt
  • 2 TBSP - Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Cup - Ricotta Cheese
  • 2 - Large Eggs
  • 2/3 Cup - Milk
  • Confectioners Sugar for Garnish

Process:

Cherry Sauce -

  1. In a small bowl whisk together corn starch and 1/4 cup of water.
  2. In a medium sauce pan over medium melt butter. Add in cherries, brown sugar, the additional 1/4 cup of water, and lemon juice if using.
  3. Stir until brown sugar has fully dissolves.
  4. Add in corn starch mixture.
  5. Increase heat to medium high, and continue to cook until sauce begins to thicken. This should take about 1-3 minutes depending on how thick you want the sauce. If sauce is too thick add small amounts of water until desired consistency is achieved.
  6. Set aside and allow to cool and thicken further.

Ricotta Pancakes -

  1. Preheat a non-stick griddle or non-stick skillet on medium-low. (I had mine set at 3 to 4 on my gas range.)
  2. Grease skillet/griddle with a small pat of butter. (This is really optional.)
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a separate bowl.
  4. Whisk together (I used my stand mixer with the whisk attachment) ricotta, milk, and eggs.
  5. Whisk in dry ingredients until just combined.
  6. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, pour pancake batter on heated skillet.
  7. Flip pancake over once large bubbles have formed all over the top of the pancake. (Takes 2-3 minutes.)
  8. Continue to cook until bottom of the pancake has turned golden. (Another 1-2 minutes.)

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27Jul/130

June: Fruit Challenge – Baked Egg & Avocado with Bacon

Avocado, soft eggs, and bacon. What is NOT to love about this Baked Egg & Avocado Recipe? This was an absolutely scrumptious addition to our normal breakfast routine and even my hubby loved it and he doesn't even like avocado that much. He suggested next time I use some cheddar cheese on it (I was thinking some feta next time around). We loved the creaminess of the cooked avocado with the yolk of the egg paired with the saltiness and crunch of the bacon. I'll definitely be making this again, and the best part... it's SO easy!
Ingredients:

  • 1 - Ripe Avocado (Halved and pitted)
  • 2 - Eggs
  • 2 - Slices of Bacon (Crumbled)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • *Optional: Cheese

Process:

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF
  2. Fry up a couple slices of bacon until crispy. Remove from pan onto paper towel lined plate and allow to cool before crumbling.
  3. Slice in half your avocado, and remove the pit. Using a ripe avocado that isn't mush is the best way to go with this. You may need to remove a little extra avocado flesh in order to fit more egg.
  4. Place avocados into individual ramekins or a baking dish that will help them stay upright.
  5. Crack two eggs into a separate bowl. Add the yolk to each avocado first, and then spoon in the whites until the hole is filled.
  6. Salt and pepper the egg to taste.
  7. Bake approximately 15 minutes until the whites are cooked, and the center of your egg is as runny as you'd like. I started checking the eggs after 10 minutes and let it cook 17 minutes total.
  8. Remove from oven. Top with crumbled bacon (and/or cheese), and serve hot.
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26Jul/130

July: Fruit Challenge – Shrimp & Avocado Ceviche

Until making this recipe, I had never tried endive. I had seen it used in a ceviche recipe and figured since I like just about every veggie, I would like endive. Turns out, I don't. But that's not fair to the rest of the ingredients which are yummy, and this can easily be served with a fork in a small bowl. NBD. To be honest I used frozen shrimp because that's what I had on hand. Don't. Don't do it. Fresh is ALWAYS better!
Ingredients:

  • 1lb - Medium to Large Raw Fresh Shrimp (Peeled, De-veined & cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
  • 1 - Ripe Avocado (Chopped)
  • 1 to 2 - Endive Heads (Leaves Separated)
  • 1 Cup - Lime Juice (More if Needed)
  • 2 - Roma Tomatoes (Chopped)
  • 1 - Jalapeno (Seeded, Ribs Removed & Minced)
  • To Taste: Salt, Pepper, Cilantro (I used parsley for a milder flavor), and additional lime juice
  • Optional: Scallions (Use up to 4 White and Light green parts only)

Process:

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine shrimp and lime juice. Make sure the shrimp is covered. I only needed 1 cup because my shrimp were smaller, however you may need to add up to an additional 1/4 cup.
  2. Cover shrimp and allow to cook/marinate in the fridge for 4 hours.
  3. 15 minutes before the shrimp is finished, cut up and gently combine avocado, tomatoes, jalapeno, (scallions and cilantro if using).
  4. Drain shrimp in a colander and add to avocado mixture.
  5. Add salt, pepper, and additional lemon juice to taste.
  6. Spoon approximately 2 TBSP of the ceviche into each endive leaf and serve fresh.

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24Jul/130

July: Fruit Challenge – Cherry Salsa

This is one of those recipes that is VERY good, but what I tried to mix it with just didn't work. Bummer! I had done some research to try and figure out something this Cherry Salsa would go with, and thought perhaps scallops. Nope. Nope, nope nope. I'll have to give it another try though with something else. Also, I learned that hard way that it NEEDS to be served fresh. Like, within the first 20 minutes of making it. Do NOT let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours. Just don't do it.
Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups - Pitted Cherries (Chopped)
  • 1/2 Cup - Red Onion (Finely Chopped)
  • 1 - Jalapeno (Ribbed, Seeds Removed & Minced)
  • 1 TBSP - Lime Juice
  • 1/4 Cup - Cilantro *Optional*

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes for flavors to mesh.
  3. Serve fresh.
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23Jul/130

July: Fruit Challenge – Vegetable Garlic Basil Butter Sauce with Angel Hair Pasta

Sometimes a quick and easy meal is just as good as one that takes hours to prepare. A little while back I made a garlic butter sauce that was a huge hit with the family, so I did some upgrades to it, and created this recipe specifically for the Blogger Recipe Challenge Fruit Month. Remember.... tomatoes are considered fruits. It counts! My husband loves this dish and the best part, is you can really use any pasta that you'd like. I enjoy Angel Hair because of it's lightness, and I think that meshes really well with a butter sauce verses a tomato sauce. Make sure you have Parmesan cheese on hand! My kids dumped ours out and I forgot to grab some last time I did my grocery shopping. It definitely adds even more flavor, and is a great garnish.

Ingredients:

  • 1lb - Angel Hair Pasta (You can use spaghetti if you prefer)
  • 2 Sticks - Salted Butter
  • 8oz - Baby Bella Mushrooms (Roughly Chopped)
  • 14.5oz - Diced Tomatoes (Substitute for fresh Roma tomatoes if preferred)
  • 1 - Small Yellow Onion (Finely Chopped)
  • 5 - Cloves of Garlic (Minced)
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp - Basil
  • 1 Tsp - Dried Oregano

Process:

  1. In a large pot bring water to a boil, and cook pasta according to package instructions. (4 minutes for Al dente Angel Hair or 5 minutes for softer Angel Hair)
  2. While pasta is cooking, in a large skillet heat 2 TBSP of butter until melted, and then add onion. Cook for approximately 2 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, and cook for another minute or so.
  4. When onions have begun to turn soft, add the mushrooms, and cook down until mushrooms begin to release juices and soften.
  5. Add in the diced tomatoes. For a thinner sauce do not drain the water from the can before adding.
  6. Add in the rest of the butter, basil, and oregano, and cook until vegetables have reached your desired consistency.
  7. Serve hot and top with Parmesan cheese.
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