Friday, March 25, 2016

White Chocolate Popcorn Balls (or...Easter Eggs!)

This is an adaptation of a recipe some of my Culinary Arts students tested and promoted for the "Good Citizens" treats we make and send to the elementary school at the end of each month (  ...with a few adaptations). Since Easter comes early this year, we added some food coloring, substituted some rainbow nonpareil "sprinkles" instead of the almonds (one of the 8 common allergens, and generally avoided in school snacks for groups of students). Achieving a true egg-shape is a challenge, especially working fairly quickly to get the entire batch shaped before the marshmallow-chocolate mixture cools too much. But I think the elementary students -- who are not severe critics to begin with -- will enjoy them!

Yield: about 56 (or so says Martha...but only if you make bite-sized tiny balls)

4 quarts popped popcorn
oil for popping
 tsp salt
3 Tbls unsalted butter
10 oz marshmallows
6 oz white chocolate
1/3 C sliced almonds (we used rainbow nonpareil 'sprinkles')
non-stick cooking spray
optional: food coloring

Pop popcorn in a large sauce pan or stock pot (with a lid): Using jut enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan, add corn kernels over medium-high heat; swirl and shake frequently to avoid burning. Sprinkle popcorn with salt. (Remove unpopped kernels.)

Melt butter in large pan over low heat. Add marshmallows and chocolate, stirring until melted. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring.

Remove from heat; quickly stir in almonds and popcorn and then nonpareils. Shape into balls (or semi egg shaped oblongs!J  Transfer to baking sheet lined with parchment paper; let stand 30 minutes. We didn't find the parchment paper to be necessary, but it does make for easy clean-up.

Can be stored airtight up to 1 day.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Fried Cabbage with Bacon, Onion & Garlic

Fried cabbage...not necessarily high on my list. But bacon makes everything better! And onion and garlic round out the flavors. I'll post the recipe as I first found it; however... I could do with less salt, especially with the saltiness of the bacon, and I had no garlic powder on hand, but threw in a good amount of fresh minced garlic. I also felt the end product was a bit overcooked. I'd like my cabbage to be tender, but still have a little crunch to it. But I suppose that's easy to suit your personal taste.

6 slices bacon, chopped
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large head cabbage, cored and sliced
1 T salt, or to taste
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp paprika

Place bacon in large stockpot; cook over medium-high heat until crispy (approx 10 min). Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until onion caramelizes (approx 10 min more). Immediately stir in cabbage; continue to cook and stir another 10 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, approx 30 minutes more.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Sweet Potato Fritters

1 lb sweet potatoes (about 2½ C)
1 egg
¼ C brown sugar
2 T butter
1 C flour
¼ C fine dry bread crumbs
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
vegetable oil for deep frying

Peel sweet potatoes, cut into ½" pieces. Boil in large stockpot 12-15 minutes until very tender. Drain; cool slightly. Combine sweet potatoes, egg, and brown sugar, blending until smooth. (Using a food processor makes this quick and easy, but it's not necessary.)

In separate bowl, combine flour bread crumbs, baking powder and salt. Add to sweet potato mixture, blending until just combined.

In a large heavy saucepan, heat 1" oil to 350˚. Drop batter by heaping tablespoons into hot oil. Fry in batches about 2 minutes, turning once, or until fritters are golden. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels.

These are tasty as a savory appetizer or side dish (serve with a yogurt-garlic-chive dipping sauce*), or dust with powdered sugar for a beignet/doughnut-like bite of sweet.
* 6 oz of yogurt with a tablespoon of minced fresh chives and clove of garlic

Monday, March 14, 2016

Basic Meringue

4 egg whites, room temperature
½ tsp cream of tartar
¼ tsp salt
2¼ C powdered sugar
optional: food coloring

Preheat oven to 250˚. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt in large bowl with mixer on medium speed until foamy. Increase speed and beat until thick and opaque (about 1 minute more). Gradually add powdered sugar a little (¼ C) at a time; beat until stiff shiny peaks form (about 5 more minutes).

Scoop or pipe meringue into desired shapes and bake about 3 hours (4 for larger/thicker shapes) until dry and crisp. Let cool completely on baking sheets. Store in airtight container in dry place for up to 1 week.

Lots of ways to serve these... color with food coloring and pipe into various shapes, sandwich two cookies with jam, dust with cocoa powder, fold in chocolate chips just before piping and baking, dip bottoms in melted white chocolate and then in colored sanding sugar...

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Honey - Peach & Blackberry Cobbler

2¼ C flour, divided
8 C chopped, peeled peaches (about 4 lbs)
¼ C honey
3 T fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp salt, divided
3 C blackberries
¾ C sugar
1 T lemon zest
1 tsp baking powder
6 T chilled butter, small diced
1¼ C low-fat buttermilk
2 T turbinado sugar
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400˚. Lightly coat 9x13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Combine ¼ C flour, peaches, honey, juice, and ¼ tsp salt in a large bowl, toss gently. Let stand 15 minutes. Fold in blackberries. Spoon mixture into baking dish.

Combine 2 C flour, ½ tsp salt, sugar, zest, and baking powder. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk; stir until just combined.

Drop dough onto top of peach-blackberry mixture. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake 40 minutes or until bubbly and golden.