Friday, April 30, 2010

Almost Crab Salad


Many years ago I found a recipe for shrimp pasta salad in one of my cooking magazines. It looked and sounded good for a lighter summer meal. So I went looking through my freezer for shrimp which I could have sworn I had some on hand. Of course there were none, the only "seafood" I could find was imitation crab meat that I had bought in case I ever came across a recipe that would use it.


I figured I might as well try to use it in this salad and needless to say, it's been years. I've never made the original with shrimp since we've been in love with this salad ever since the first time I made it. Many times this is my go-to salad on a busy day since I can make it early in the morning and just let it hang out in the fridge till dinner time. I serve this often as a main dish with just a crusty loaf of bread and fruit (like watermelon) on the side.


The salad has a wonderful flavor combination brought on by the sweetness of the peas and the imitation crab. It also has a little bit of crunch from the green onions and a wonderful tart, creamy dressing that is enhanced with lemon juice and dill.

This salad is a great salad for those hot, busy days, I hope you give it a try!


Almost Crab Salad

Ingredients:
1 pound small pasta shells, cooked and drained
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) frozen peas
3/4 cup green onions, finely sliced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
2 tablespoons fresh chives, minced
3/4 cup (6 ounces) plain yogurt*
1/2 cup sour cream*
1 cup mayonnaise*
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh dill, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste

* Low-fat yogurt, sour cream and mayo can be used with equally good results

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine the pasta, imitation crab, peas, onions, parsley, and chives.

In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and dill. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour over pasta mixture and toss gently. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Orange Creamsicle Cookies


When I saw this recipe on several of the blogs I read I knew I had to give this one a go. Since my husband is a proclaimed chocolate hater, I'm always looking for good alternatives that he would enjoy as well. The cookie is a simple cookie with only a few ingredients but with the addition of freshly grated orange zest and white chocolate chips this sugar cookie is transformed into the orange vanilla childhood treat many of us grew up with - the orange creamsicle.


This cookie is made quickly with all the ingredients usually available in my house. The original recipe was from Guittard Chocolate and calls for such, but I made this with Ghirardelli white chocolate chips with equally wonderful results. Baking time is short (only 8 minutes) and the cookies are knocked out in no time. Fresh out of the oven they were divine. Crunchy on the outside and with a slight chew on the inside. Just how I like my cookies. 

These cookies were a big hit with my family and neighbors. In fact my husband has already requested them again and nothing pleases me more then food that he enjoys. Hope you will give this one a try, it is a winning combination!


Orange Creamsicle Cookies 
(Print this Recipe)

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons fresh orange zest, grated
12 ounces white chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture until combined. Stir in orange zest and chocolate chips.

Drop rounded tablespoons (I use an ice cream scoop for this) onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake 8 - 10 minutes or until golden brown around edges. Cool for several minutes on cookie sheets before transferring to rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container.

Adapted from: Guittard

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Layer Salad

 
Layer Salad is one of my husband's favorite salads. It is also a great salad to take along to any BBQ, picnic, or potluck since it's visual appeal alone is a stand out.

This salad is best made a few hours ahead before serving so the frozen peas can un-thaw. Preparation for this salad is a little bit involved since you are chopping, grating and cooking the individual layers, but the results if presented in a nice glass trifle bowl are stunning.


This salad usually has something for everyone with all the different components of sweet, salty, crunchy and creamy. It is important however, that all the ingredients are at their prime. So don't skimp on sub-par vegetables since they are the star in this dish. A good quality mayonnaise is also key since it is mainly what makes your dressing. It is also a salad that if taken somewhere, the bowl is empty when you return home.

Hopefully you like this as much as we do when you serve it at your next function.


Layer Salad

Ingredients:
1/2 head Iceberg Lettuce, shredded
1/2 medium red onion, diced
2 medium carrots, shredded
2 cups frozen baby peas
1 medium red pepper, diced
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Dressing:
1 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I like Best Food's)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:
Layer the ingredients in the order listed into a trifle or other glass bowl reserving some of the bacon if desired to sprinkle on top.

Whisk the dressing ingredients in a separate bowl making sure to taste for seasoning. Spread dressing over entire bowl making sure to cover the entire surface. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours. Before serving add reserved bacon bits.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart


For this weeks BWD: Baking with Dorie Challenge, it was Elizabeth's first pick and she decided on The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart on Page 331 and 332 in Dorie Greenspan's book

Since I've proclaimed my love for anything citrus a few times already on this blog, I was certainly excited about making it again, yes again. When I first ordered this book and it arrived over a year ago this was one of the first recipes I made. At that time I made a few notes about the tart and stuck it next to the recipe for future use.

This tart is certainly not for the faint of heart. Between the tart crust and the lemon filling, the recipe calls for a whopping 30 tablespoons of butter!!! So most definitely not a diet food, but like everything in life, if you make it only once or twice a year and have a small piece it will fit into any lifestyle.

The Lemon Cream Tart is what lemon dreams are made out of. It has crunch from the crust, tartness from the lemon and is beyond creamy from all that butter.


I started making this tart by baking the crust. Dorie suggest either her regular sweet tart dough or any variation of it. I decided to add pistachios to mine since it sounded good in combination with the lemon. In true fashion, this tart wasn't going to be my friend either. For some reason it browned quicker than my last few and almost burned. But since at this point the crust was still intact I wasn't going to bake it again. I should have known better since as soon as I placed my filling into this wonderful light and crumbly tart shell two pieces broke of the sides.

Secondly, I started working on my lemon curd. It starts by rubbing sugar with lemon zest until moist and fragrant. Into this you whisk eggs and the lemon juice. The mixture is then put over a double boiler. No matter how hard I tried the first time I made this, or even the second time, I could not get the curd to read 180 degrees F on my instant read thermometer as Dorie's recipe recommends. 160 degrees was as high as it would go and since my curd was thick and leaving tracks (another sign), I called it a day yet again and took it off the stove. Her next step is to strain the curd through a strainer and into your blender bowl, discarding the remaining lemon zest. This was another step I skipped. I love the way lemon zest adds little specks of color in a food plus my curd was nice and smooth so I figured no straining required to dirty another dish.

After letting the lemon mixture cool for a bit, you start blending in the pieces of butter. The first time I made it I used all the butter called for in the recipe, and while the flavor was OK, the family agreed the butter was too overwhelming. So this time I kept tasting after every 5 pieces and stopped at 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) of butter. Much better flavor, and the lemon was still the star in this dish.


I mentioned my crust started breaking as soon as the filling went in. I knew I had to do something to save this tart, at least for a picture opportunity. Looking through my fridge I found some cream cheese and thought that some cream cheese frosting should do the trick. So a quick frosting was whipped up and piped along the sides to contain the "leaks" and then I decided to add a quick little piping around the edges which helped disguise some of the darker edges of the crust.

I really liked this tart since it was mighty tasty and I will probably make it again sometime if I have guests, but for casual get togethers or family occasions, I will probably stick with simple lemon bars or lemon meringue pie since I really can't justify eating this much butter all the time.


Check out Elizabeth's blog and Grapefruit's blog for the recipe and to see what they thought about this Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart.

For our next BWD in two weeks (the 10th of May) it is Elizabeth's pick again with Hidden Berry Cream Cheese Torte on Page 240-242. So if any of this has peeked your interest and you want to join the fun with us next time, just shoot me or Grapefruit an email and we'd be more than happy to have you.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Better Than Restaurant Coleslaw


My children have always had a soft spot for KFC coleslaw. Every time we had the fried chicken (which isn't often) they would beg for the coleslaw over any other side the restaurant offered. I do have to admit that it is pretty good and creamy and I've enjoyed the occasional serving of it as well. I've had a lot of bad coleslaws over the years. There is usually one at every potluck present and while a lot of them are pretty good, there are just as many that are plain bland.


Figuring that I can make a coleslaw that is just as delicious as the fast food version, I was tinkering around with a recipe I had found on All Recipes. It was a good basic recipe but still lacked some of that wonderful creaminess that we all liked. After a lot of experimenting with the recipe and trying different things I came up with my take on this classic that has produced empty bowls time and time again. 


This coleslaw is fantastic with anything from grilled ribs to chicken or even seafood. It comes together quickly but will need to sit for a couple of hours for the flavors to really meld into one another.
I realize you might already have a coleslaw recipe in your repertoire, but maybe you still want to give mine a try and who knows, it might become a favorite of yours as well.


Better Than Restaurant Coleslaw
~ Serves 8~

Ingredients:
1 (16 ounce) package coleslaw mix
1/3 cup red onion, finely minced
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions:
Combine the coleslaw mix and onions in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, salt, pepper, cayenne, milk, mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, and lemon juice; whisk until smooth. Pour mixture over the coleslaw and onion; stir well and chill for at least 1 hour. 

Slightly adapted from: All Recipes

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Strawberry Tiramisu

 
What better way to enjoy strawberry season then with copious amounts of great berry recipes. I'm always on the lookout for new and innovative dishes, so when I found this one for Strawberry Tiramisu I was hooked from the get go.  I mean, what is not to love? Tiramisu is one of my all time favorite desserts, and remaking this classic with the addition of beautiful juicy strawberries was all I needed to keep myself from drooling.


This recipe has a few layers, but comes together quickly once all the different components are good to go. Ladyfingers and strawberries are the main players in this dish but they are greatly enhanced by the filling of mascarpone and cream. This recipe calls for Grand Marnier in almost every layer which absolutely makes the dish extraordinary. The liqueur definitely turns this into an adult only dessert so if you don't mind the alcohol, don't skip it. However, if you wanted to serve this to children and adults alike you could certainly replace the alcohol with additional orange juice.
This is an amazing flavor experience that was greatly enjoyed by everyone that tried this dish. I hope you'll give this a try at your home as well.


Strawberry Tiramisu

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups strawberry preserves
2 tablespoons plus an additional 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier, divided
1/3 cup orange juice
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups chilled whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 - 1 1/2 pounds fresh strawberries, divided and washed
1 package (about 24) crisp ladyfingers

Directions:
Whisk preserves, 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier, and orange juice in 2 cup measuring cup. 

Place mascarpone cheese and 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier in large bowl; fold just to blend. 

Using electric mixer, beat cream, sugar, vanilla, and remaining 1 tablespoon of Grand Marnier in another large bowl to soft peaks.

Stir 1/4 of whipped cream mixture into mascarpone mixture to lighten. Fold in remaining whipped cream.

Hull and slice half of the strawberries. Spread 1/2 cup preserve mixture over bottom of 9-inch square serving dish. Arrange enough lady fingers over preserve mixture to cover bottom of dish.  Spoon 3/4 cup preserve mixture over ladyfingers, then spread half of the mascarpone mixture over. Arrange sliced strawberries over mascarpone mixture. Repeat layering with remaining ladyfingers, preserve mixture, and mascarpone mixture. 

Cover with plastic and chill at least 8 hours or overnight. Slice remaining strawberries. Arrange over tiramisu and serve.

Adapted from: Bon Appetit

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tandoori Chicken


I have never cared for the spice ginger much. I don't know what it is about it, but a lot of times I feel like it overpowers the food itself. On the other hand, I love Asian food and many recipes do call for ginger in either dry or fresh form. Often, I would just reduce the ginger so I wouldn't be able to taste it on my first bite.

I guess things are changing around here and I'm a "ginger-convert". A few weeks ago my baking friend Grapefruit suggested Gingered Carrot Cookies for our bi-weekly Baking with Dorie Challenge and I loved them so much I have baked them several times since.

So when the newest Food Network Magazine arrived and I saw the Tandoori Chicken in their "Weeknight Cooking" column I wasn't turned off right away, in fact, I was intrigued. After further examination of the recipe and seeing that it called for a big 2-inch chunk of fresh ginger I was getting doubtful, but decided it was as good of a time as ever to get over my ginger phobia.


The recipe is easily put together, the meat only marinates a total of about 20 minutes. My husband decided to throw the chicken thighs on the grill which gave them a nice bit of char and added another dimension of flavor to the chicken. I served this chicken with the yogurt sauce (which helps tone down some of the heat) called for in the recipe, rice and a simple side salad.

The verdict? I was in love with this chicken as was the rest of the family. We all couldn't get enough of this meal. The ginger taste was there, but along with all the other spices and ingredients it didn't overpower anything, just enhance. This dish is going in my permanent recipe files and will be made many more times. I hope you'll give this one a try as well!


Tandoori Chicken
(Print this Recipe)

Ingredients: 
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds)
Juice of 1 Lemon
Kosher Salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons plain yogurt (I used Greek style)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 small red onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
4 teaspoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 3/4 teaspoons hot paprika
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Cooked rice, for serving (optional)

Directions: 
Preheat the broiler.* Make shallow cuts in the chicken thighs with a sharp knife. Toss the chicken with the lemon juice and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a large bowl.

Pulse 2 tablespoons yogurt, the vegetable oil, onion, garlic, ginger, tomato paste, coriander, cumin,
1 1/2 teaspoons  paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor to make a paste. Toss the chicken in the mixture and let marinate 15 minutes.

Place the chicken on a foil-lined broiler pan. Broil, turning once, until slightly charred and a thermometer inserted into the center registers 165 degrees F, 5 to 6 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/2 cup yogurt and 1/4 teaspoon paprika, the cilantro and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Top the chicken with the yogurt sauce and serve with rice, if desired.


Note: If you have the opportunity to grill the chicken thighs on a charcoal or even a gas grill, I would suggest going that route as it adds so much flavor.

Adapted from: Food Network Magazine

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Morning Glory Muffins


With school almost out for the summer and plenty of end of school year testing going on for all three of my children it is more important than ever to me that they leave the house having had a healthy breakfast that will have them all functioning well.

I've had this recipe for Morning Glory Muffins in my to-do list file for quite a while, and thought this was the perfect opportunity to go ahead and make them. They are bursting with good for you ingredients and are a great "on the go" breakfast.

The batter comes together very quickly, no mixer required. All you need is a couple of bowls, a wooden spoon and a whisk. While they are great right out of the oven they actually taste even better after sitting over night at room temperature. These muffins are low in calories (about 200 per muffin), low in fat (about 5 g), have a good amount of fiber (about 2.5 g) and are high in Vitamin A because of the carrots.* They are a wonderful start to the day.

My kids loved these and I felt good, knowing I sent them on their way with such a healthy breakfast in their tummy. Give them a try, they keep for a couple days well covered on the counter, or freeze them and take them out as needed.

*All nutritional information is only approximately.


Morning Glory Muffins
~makes 18 muffins~

Ingredients:
1 large egg
2 egg whites
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups carrots, shredded or grated
2 medium apples, shredded or grated
1 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons wheat germ
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil 18 muffin cups, or coat with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, apple sauce, oil, and vanilla.

In a large bowl, stir together flours, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in carrots, apples, and raisins. Stir in apple sauce mixture until just moistened. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them about 3/4 full.

In  a small bowl, combine walnuts, wheat germ, and brown sugar; sprinkle over the muffin tops.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and spring back when lightly pressed.

Adapted from: All Recipes

Monday, April 19, 2010

Caprese Salad My Way


I've been making caprese salad for a long time. The regular one that is, with the big slices of juicy ripe tomatoes, fresh salt brined mozzarella (Trader Joe's sells them for a great price), fresh basil, and last but definitely not least, a drizzle of high quality olive oil. This salad has always been a summer favorite for us. In fact, there is nothing better then a big plate of this along with some fresh crusty bread and a good glass of red wine. As an added bonus, this salad is so light and refreshing tasting which makes it the perfect meal on a hot summer's night.

Insalata Caprese (as it is called in Italy), is a simple salad from the Italian region of Campania. The dish is also known as Tricolore salad due to it's three colors, which mimic the Italian Flag.


Usually, I make it the way it is supposed to be with the big slices of tomatoes and mozzarella but every once in a while when they are out of season or not very good looking I turn to sweet, juicy grape or cocktail tomatoes. Unfortunately you just can't present this salad with tiny tomatoes they way it is supposed to look so I came up with my version of this classic.

This is always a big hit, no matter if I serve this for the family or when we have guests. I haven't met anyone who didn't love this salad. I hope you will give this a try for your next summer meal.



Caprese Salad My Way

Ingredients:
Grape or Cocktail Tomatoes, washed and halved or quartered
Red Onion, finely sliced
Fresh Mozzarella, cubed
Fresh Basil, chiffonade cut

Salt and Pepper
Balsamic Vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:
On a platter or in a large bowl add your tomatoes and red onion. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with a couple of tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar. Toss lightly.

Layer your cubed mozzarella on top and drizzle with olive oil (again about 2 tablespoons). Scatter your basil chiffonade on top and serve.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream

 
The other day my husband stopped at Costco on the way home and brought me a 4 pound container of Strawberries. What a perfect opportunity to make another of David Lebovitz's ice cream recipes. After looking through his book, The Perfect Scoop, I decided on Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream which can be found on Page 90.

This ice cream is very different from his Vanilla Ice Cream which I had made a couple of weeks back. This ice cream unlike the vanilla version, required not cooking a custard. The ice cream has very few steps, so besides slicing up the strawberries and blending everything together, which should take a max of 15 minutes total, there is only waiting time. This is truly an easy recipe as far as homemade ice creams are concerned.


It starts by washing and slicing your strawberries, then adding your sugar, some alcohol; which in my case I used Chambord (David uses vodka or kirsch in his recipe). Then the mixture macerates for one hour. After that, put the strawberries, which have juiced significantly, along with sour cream, heavy cream, and lemon juice in a food processor and pulse until desired consistency. The mixture then gets poured into the ice cream maker and frozen to the ice cream makers manufacturers instructions.

This ice cream did not disappoint either. It was full of strawberry flavor that was only enhanced by the sour cream, heavy cream, and Chambord but overall, the strawberries were the star in this frozen concoction. Everyone in the house enjoyed this ice cream immensely which I will be making again as long as strawberries are in season.


Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream
~makes about 1 1/4 quarts~

Ingredients:
1 pound (450 g) fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
2 tablespoons Chambord*
1 cup (240 g) sour cream
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions:
Slice the strawberries and toss them in a bowl with the sugar and Chambord, stirring until the sugar begins to dissolve. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour stirring every so often.

Pulse the strawberries and their liquid with the sour cream, heavy cream, and lemon juice in a blender or food processor until almost smooth but still slightly chunky.

Refrigerate for 1 hour, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

*If you are concerned about the alcohol you could leave it out, but I really think it enhances the berry flavor and certainly helps with the texture of the finished product once frozen.

Adapted from: David Lebovitz

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Jerk Turkey Burgers with Mango Slaw


We love to BBQ all year round. Fortunately, we live in an area where the weather is fairly moderate in the winter months so we can continue to grill when many people in other parts of the country have to put their BBQ's in the garage or basement for the season. Burgers are always a big hit at our house and considering how quickly they come together it is certainly just as fast as driving to any fast food joint.

My husband is the grill master at our house. Grilling is his main passion. So while he does his magic on the grill, I'm usually the one getting all of the condiments ready for the burgers. The status quo in our household usually consist of a standard beef burger along with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and of course cheese.


After I got my newest Food Network Magazine and started flipping through the pages my eyes caught one of their "Weeknight Cooking" meals. It was for Jerk Turkey Burgers with Mango Slaw. Now this one sounded very interesting. I read through the ingredients and figured I should try this Burger at least once. The burger doesn't require much more time than any other burger but the flavor was out of this world. It had the spice from the jerk seasoning (recipe follows), the sweetness from the slaw and the mayonnaise along with the bun which complimented everything. The ground turkey mixed with the apple (which you can't detect once cooked) was juicy and full of incredible flavor. I'm not the world's biggest mango chutney fan (maybe homemade tastes better than store bought) but in combination with the slaw and the mayonnaise it just works. The original recipe called for shredded cabbage and shredded carrot, but in order to streamline this process I just went with store bought coleslaw mix and it worked like a charm.


We all loved this burger. The only one who wasn't crazy about it was my youngest child, but he is a hardcore cheeseburger kid. This burger will be making an encore throughout our grilling season for sure. This was definitely not your standard "fast-food" burger and I'm looking forward to finding more unique burger recipes like this, so stay tuned!



Jerk Turkey Burgers with Mango Slaw
~serves 6~

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
2 tablespoons jerk seasoning, plus more for sprinkling *(recipe follows)
1 medium green apple, peeled and grated
1/2 cup green onions, finely chopped, divided
1/3 cup Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
Kosher Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup mayonnaise, plus more for brushing
1/3 cup mango chutney, roughly chopped
4 cups coleslaw mix with carrots
Canola oil, for the grill
6 hamburger buns, split

Directions:
Preheat a grill grill pan to medium high. Mix the turkey, jerk seasoning, apple, 1/4 cup green onions and the panko in a bowl; season with salt and pepper. Form into 6 1-inch thick patties and make a small indentation in the middle of each with your thumb to prevent it from puffing up on the grill. Refrigerate.

Whisk the mayonnaise and chutney in a large bowl. Add the coleslaw mix and the remaining 1/4 cup green onion, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.

Brush the grill with canola oil. Grill the turkey patties until browned and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Brush the cut sides of the buns with mayonnaise and sprinkle with jerk seasoning; toast on the grill, about 30 seconds. Serve the burgers and slaw on the buns.


Jerk Seasoning
~makes 1/2 cup~

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon onion flakes
2 teaspoons ground thyme
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons dried chives

Directions:
Mix together all the ingredients. Store leftovers in a tightly closed glass jar. It will keep its strength for over a month. 
Use 1 1/2 tablespoons of seasoning for each pound of meat.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lollipop Garden Cupcakes


When I heard that my friend's daughters' 7th birthday was coming up, I offered to make the cupcakes for her party. Looking through a few different books and online I had decided (and after approval of the birthday girl of course) she was going to get lollipop garden cupcakes out of my trusty Martha Stewart Cupcakes book. 

After talking to the birthday girl to find out her favorite colors I went with a yellow/red theme. The cake part of the cupcakes is my go-to recipe for Yellow Buttermilk Cupcakes. The frosting is a simple, but tasty, Fluffy Vanilla Frosting that I tinted orange with food coloring. However, if you are looking for a shortcut, feel free to use a boxed cake mix and canned frosting.


The cupcakes were baked in golden yellow paper cups, and after cooling I frosted them before rolling them carefully in red sprinkles. The leaves were cut out of airheads candy, but I'm sure you could use pretty much any kind of green taffy or fruit leather. The final touch after the leaves get inserted was to stick in a lollipop as the flower.

I thought they turned out really cute and the birthday girl was excited about them as well.
Happy Birthday Janessa!



Lollipop Garden Cupcakes

Ingredients:
1 recipe of your favorite cupcake, baked
1 recipe of your favorite vanilla frosting (tinted to desired color to work with sprinkles)
Sprinkles (any color will work)
Lollipops
Green Taffy or Green Fruit Leather

Directions:
Using an offset spatula, spread buttercream or frosting on cupcakes, smoothing into dome shapes. Place sprinkles in a small bowl. Gently press each frosted cupcake into sprinkles, rolling it around so entire surface is coated. Insert a lollipop into the center of each cupcake. Then, using a paring knife or kitchen shears, cut leaf shapes out of green taffy strips. Press one leaf into each cupcake next to the lollipop. Refrigerate 30 minutes to allow frosting to set.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Confetti Couscous Salad


Many years ago I was looking for a recipe to serve along side grilled shrimp. After searching through tons of magazines I found this recipe for Confetti Couscous Salad. I don't even recall in what publication I found the recipe but it has been a family favorite ever since. 

The first time I make a recipe I usually follow almost everything exactly, and then make notes if I do end up changing something as I'm sure a lot of cooks do. This salad however did not need one thing different or changed, the recipe was great as is. The salad is made very quickly and full of delicious flavors.

The name of the salad comes from the beautiful color of bright green celery, orange carrots and the  dark red of plump dried cranberries. Couscous, toasted almonds and a light vinaigrette round out this tasty dish.  I serve this salad most often with grilled seafood or chicken but it would taste great with just about anything. I truly hope you will give this one a try, it is a great salad.


Confetti Couscous Salad
~serves 4-6~

Ingredients:
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup uncooked couscous
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup carrot, shredded
1/4 cup green onions, finely sliced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Dressing:

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:
In a small saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil. Stir in couscous; cover and remove from the heat. Let sand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork; cool.

In a serving bowl, combine the couscous, celery, carrot, onions, and cranberries.

In a small bowl whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour over salad; toss to coat. Add almonds just before serving.  This salad can be served chilled or at room temperature.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Lots-Of-Ways Banana Cake



For this weeks BWD: Baking with Dorie Challenge, it was Grapefruit's pick once again and she decided on Lots-Of-Ways Banana Cake on Page 204 and 205 in Dorie Greenspan's book

I was ecstatic when I heard about this pick since I really love banana cake, as does the rest of my family. I've been making a great chocolaty banana cake for a long time so this recipe had to measure up to this old family favorite.

The recipe itself is more of a guide line. Dorie gives a lot of suggestions as to what ingredients you can use but ultimately with this recipe the sky is the limit since there are so many flavor combinations possible. Practically, besides the flour, eggs, butter, sugar, and bananas, nothing is written in stone, and it is up to the individual baker as to where to go from there.

I had a hard time trying to decide which direction I wanted to take with this cake since all the combinations sounded so delicious, but I finally settled on a tropical version. In addition to coconut rum, unsweetened coconut milk and sweetened coconut flakes, I added chopped dried mango and dried pineapple to the batter.

Since I had just made a two layer cake for Easter I did not want to go this route again so I decided to just use my Wilton 17 by 11 inch cookie sheet that I lined with parchment paper. I baked the cake for  25 minutes and it came out perfect. I let it cool and then proceeded to frost it with a simple sweetened whipped cream. I sprinkled some more of the dried pineapple and mango on top and cut it into bars.



The cake itself was moist right out of the oven, but the magic happened over night. The dried fruit had absorbed some of the cakes moisture and plumped up inside the cake as well as on top of the frosting. The flavors worked wonderful together and considering my husband brought home an empty cake carrier, I'm thinking his colleagues at work liked it as well.

Did it measure up to my recipe of chocolate banana cake? It did but differently, I still like the chocolate banana version better, but will add this tropical kind into my recipe files for future baking adventures. I think this is a wonderful cake that screams sunshine. As always, Dorie Greenspan and her phenomenal recipes do not disappoint.  

Check out Grapefruit's page for the recipe and Elizabeth's page to see what they thought about this cake and what twist on this recipe they came up with.

For our next BWD in two weeks (the 26th of April) it is Elizabeth's pick with The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart  on Page 331 and 332. So if any of this has peeked your interest and you want to join the fun with us next time, just shoot me or Grapefruit an email and we'd be more than happy to have you.

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