Monday, September 18, 2017

Italian Stuffed Zucchini

Saw a recipe very similar to this online. I'd credit the original (or post it in a link) if I could find it again. This isn't exactly it, but...the same basic idea. Tweak it to your own taste.

3 medium zucchini
24 oz marinara
1 T olive oil
1 lb ground beef
½ C onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ bell pepper, chopped
½ tsp each: basil, oregano, thyme
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
¼ C chopped italian parsley
salt & pepper to taste
1 to 1½ C shredded mozzarella
½ C shredded parmesan
¼ C Italian seasoned bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350°.

Trim zucchini ends and scoop out centers, leaving about a ¼-½" thick 'shell'. I used a Parisian scoop (melon baller). Chop scooped out centers; set aside.

Place zucchini into baking dish with ½" of water; cover with foil and pre-cook 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully pour off excess water; set aside.

Photos: I only made a half recipe.

Brown beef, onion, bell pepper and garlic in a skillet with olive oil. Drain off excess grease. Add chopped zucchini centers, 2/3 (approx 16 oz) of the marinara, basil, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes. Simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour remaining marinara in bottom of baking dish. Place zucchini 'boats' on marinara in baking dish. Scoop beef & veggie mixture into scooped out zucchini, dividing it evenly. I had extra filling -- no problem if it fills in around the edges too! Cover with foil; bake for 20-25 minutes, until zucchini is tender.

While they're cooking, toss chesses and bread crumbs.

Remove stuffed zucchini from oven. Set oven to broil; remove foil and top stuffed zucchini with cheese and bread crumbs. Return to oven just long enough to melt and brown cheese & bread crumbs.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Pumpkin Biscuits

These are a very mild flavored biscuit, but still delicious, especially if you serve them warm with maple butter or cranberry relish. Throw some bacon on the side. Or go for a more savory spin with a sage herbed butter...

2½ C flour
1 T baking powder
½ t salt
¼ C loosely packed brown sugar
½ t cinnamon
¼ t ginger
¼ t nutmeg
½ C cold butter, small diced
1 15 oz can pumpkin purée

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sift together all dry ingredients. Cut in butter until coarse crumbs form. Stir in pumpkin purée just until combined.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead gently, folding to create layers. Pat or roll to ½ inch thickness. Cut with round biscuit cutter, or slice for square biscuits. Transfer to parchment lined bakign sheet.

Bake 15-20 minutes. Best served warm.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

BBQ Cauliflower 'Wings'

With some cauliflower I wanted to use up -- left over from making Parmeson-Garlic Roasted Cauliflower -- I found this recipe, courtesy of the Food Network. I have no intention of going vegetarian, so I would still much rather have real BBQ chicken wings (or tenders); but...even on cauliflower, BBQ is always an addictive, snackable flavor. The texture of the cauliflower obviously isn't the same as chicken. My adivce: take care to not overcook the florets...some of mine were really too soft.

Parmesan-Garlic Roasted Cauliflower

I didn't have fresh parsley, and I was a little shy on the parmesan cheese -- which would have made an even richer finished product! But it was still great...

1 head of cauliflower
1-2 T olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
½ C grated parmesan cheese
¼ C bread crumbs
1 tsp smoked paprika
fresh chopped parsley

Preaheat oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with foil.

In a large bowl stir together olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Chop cauliflower into florets. Toss florests in seasoned olive oil. Transfer to baking sheet, in a single layer.

Bake 15 minutes. Toss parmesan, bread crumbs and smoked paprika. Turn florets; sprinkle with cheese and bread crumb mixture. Return to oven; bake another 10-15 minutes. Test for doneness by piercing with a fork or knife. 

Garnish with chopped parsley to serve.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Honey-Sriracha Brussels Sprouts

The Moonshine BBQ (Lynnwood, WA) has Sriracha-Honey Brussels Sprouts on their Happy Hour menu. They're a nice balance of sweet and spicy. I was inspired to do something similar, although...I added a couple strips of bacon tossed into the mix, but you could leave that out and they'd still be sweet & spicy!

4 C very thinly sliced Brussels sprouts
2 T olive oil
s & p
1/3 C honey
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Sriracha (more or less...I'm kind of a wuss when it comes to hot spices)
Optional: 2-3 slices of bacon

Preheat oven to 400 F.
If I remember right, The Moonshine just quarters their Brussels sprouts; I like mine thinly sliced. You can buy shaved Brussels sprouts, if not...that's your first step. (I crisped my bacon at the same time.) Toss with olive oil. Spread the Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet; season with salt & pepper.

Roast Brussels sprouts for 20-25 minutes until starting to brown. (It may take longer if they're just quartered.) While they're in the oven...

(Crumble or chop the bacon, if you're adding bacon.)
In a small bowl, combine honey, lemon juice and Sriracha.

When Brussels sprouts are done roasting, toss with bacon, drizzle with honey-Sriracha and toss to coat. Season with additional salt & pepper if needed.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Traditional South African Melk Tert

I've made a melktert before, with my Culinary Arts class during our African foods unit. Here's a slightly different version (traditional family recipe) with what is probably a more authentic crust -- which is not actually a crust at all.

Filling Ingredients
3 T cake flour
4 T cornstarch
1 C sugar
1 liter milk
125 grams butter
4 eggs
1 T vanilla

Crust Ingredients
2 T butter
2 T sugar
1 egg
3 T flour
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 400.

Begin Filling: In a large saucepan, mix cornstarch, flour and sugar. Slowly add in milk, stirring to combine dry ingredients smoothly. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring constantly until it just begins to boil, and thickens. Add butter, stirring until butter melts; stir in vanilla. Set aside to cool while preparing crust.

Prepare Crust: Cream together butter and sugar. Blend in egg. Stir in flour and baking powder. Smear evenly over bottom and up sides of a pie pan.

Complete Filling: Whisk egg whites into stiff peaks. Stir half the egg whites into filling; gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Pour filling onto pie pan; sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake 15-20 minutes; center will still be slightly 'loose' (jiggly) in the center.

Pecan Pie

I have an allergy to nuts. So, I don't make pecan pies often. But, I do make them for the caterers where I work. Full size or, more often recently, into mini pecan 'tarts' (pictured).

1 (single layer) pie crust
1 C sugar
3 T brown sugar
½ tsp salt
1 C corn syrup
1/3 C butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 C chopped pecans
Optional: additional whole pecans (halves) for topping

Preheat oven to 350˚. Press pie crust evenly into pie dish. Spread chopped pecans into bottom of pie crust.

In a large bowl, mix together everything except pecans. Pour mixture over chopped pecans. If desired, arrange whole pecan halves on top. Bake pie for approx 50 minutes*, until center is barely jiggly in the center.

* Ovens vary, cooking time may vary as well. Pie can be covered with foil for the first 30 minutes to prevent crust or tops of pecans from burning.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Shortbread Crust

1 C butter, softened
2 C flour
½ C powdered sugar

Combine all ingredients, stirring -- or mixing by hand -- until thoroughly blended.
Press into pie pan or into baking dish...

Chocolate Version:
Reduce flour to 1½ C and add 1/3 C cocoa powder.

Chocolate Cream Pie

2/3 c sugar
3 T cornstarch
2 T cocoa powder (I use dark)
dash salt
1 C heavy cream
2 C milk
3 egg yolks
1½ C semisweet choc
2 T butter
1 tsp vanilla

One 9" pie crust
          A standard pie crust is fine.
          A graham cracker or chocolate cookie crust is good.
          A chocolate shortbread crust is my personal favorite!

Combine sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder and salt in a saucepan. Slowly whisk in, a little at a time, cream milk and egg yolks. Heat gently to a boil; boil 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Blend in semi-sweet chocolate, butter and vanilla, stirring until chocolate and butter are completely melted. Pour into prepared crust.

Once cooled, cream pie may be spread with a generous layer of whipped cream before serving; garnish with chocolate curls...

Friday, July 21, 2017

Fudge Brownies

1 C butter
3 C sugar
4 eggs
1½ C flour
1 C cocoa powder (I use dark)
1 tsp salt
optional: 1 C chocolate chips (or white chips, peanut butter chips...)

Preheat oven to 350˚. Lightly grease (or coat with non-stick cooking spray) a 9x13" baking dish.

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla, mixing until thoroughly blended. Add remaining dry ingredients all at once. If desired, fold in chocolate chips.

Pour and spread batter evenly in prepared 9x13" pan. Bake 30-40 minutes.

Flourless Chocolate Cake (...Torte)

This is better than the flourless chocolate cake recipe I've made before. ANY flourless cake I've made before has left me disappointed if I really want a cake. Even if the flavor is good, the texture isn't ever light or fluffy enough to satisfy my expectations. This recipe isn't light and fluffy  enough to be a cake, but if you call it a torte (which is typically layered, but also typically has little to no flour and is more dense)...  The flavor is rich and intensely chocolatey!

3 eggs
¾ C sugar
1 C semi- or bittersweet chocolate, chips or chopped
½ C butter
C unsweetened cocoa powder (I use dark)
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375. Grease (or lightly coat with non-stick cooking spray) an 8" round pan. Beat together eggs and sugar until well blended.

Place chocolate and butter in double boiler (or a microwave safe bowl) and melt gently.

Combine melted chocolate and butter with egg & sugar mixture. Add cocoa powder, salt and vanilla, stirring until very smooth. Pour into prepared pan; bake 25 minutes. (Toothpick test is NOT effective to test for doneness.)

Cool in pan 5-10 minutes before turning onto serving plate.

Serving suggestions: Top with chocolate ganache, drizzle with raspberry coulis, caramel sauce...

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Lemon Buttercream

1 C butter, softened
2 tsp lemon zest
2-3 C powdered sugar
1½ T heavy cream
1 T lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla

Whip butter and lemon zest until light, fluffy and very pale, almost white. Blend in 1 cup powdered sugar. Mix in heavy cream, lemon juice and vanilla. Add 1 to 2 cups more powdered sugar to reach desired consistency.