Saturday, March 30, 2013

Eggs and Mayonnaise

Its very exciting when Easter comes because its a good sign that Spring is coming soon.  Or at least I hope so because I miss Spring.  Looking forward to beautiful Spring green grass, buds on trees, birds singing, milder days.... Ahhh.

I made some dyed Easter eggs with my kids this week.  I am pretty traditional with dyeing eggs.  A mug, hot water, a tablespoon of white vinegar, dye and a spoon dedicated tot hat mug.  Simple.  Easy peasy.

Some of my dyes are getting old, must go thru and get rid of them or use them up quickly.  They kind of made the eggs spotty.  The kids liked it, thought it was kind of cool.

Since we are on the subject of eggs, I made some mayonnaise for the first time.  Its pretty delicious and yes, I would make it again and maybe play with the flavors.  Cost wise, it is roughly about the same price as buying mayonnaise.  I'll have to figure out the exact cost next time because I am curious.
The mayo did break a little.  I probably did not mix it long enough.  I got excited and it was dinner time. everyone was hungry and ready for this special mayonnaise.

1 cup oil
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a blender combine egg yolks, lemon juice and salt.  While blender is running drizzle in oil. Blend until cohesive..
Next time I will use this recipe:

1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 pinches sugar
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 cup oil, safflower or corn

click here to go to the original recipe at Food Network.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Turkey Enchilada with Salsa Verde

Love, love tomatillos.  I had some frozen, all made up into salsa verde from this past summer.  I was wanting to make some turkey enchiladas.  Oh yum.  Yah know, you really dont even need a recipe for something like this, a few key components and you can mix in whatever you like. I am putting it on my blog because I particularly liked the taste of these.

One thing you will notice is that I used some pork fat.  Generally I never cooked with it but the price of oil has gone up so much that I decided to freeze pork grease the last time I made pulled pork.  It has a lot of flavor.  Certainly though you could use any kind of oil you like.  

Turkey Enchiladas with Salsa Verde

2 pounds ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper chopped
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup sour cream
2 ounces cream cheese
1 cup mozzarella
1 packet taco seasoning or two tablespoons of your own taco seasoning.
1 tablespoon pork fat
 6-8 flour tortillas

In a frying pan saute onion and pepper in a 1/2 of a tablespoon of  pork fat, until transluscent.  Remove from pan and set aside.  In the same pan fry the turkey in the remaining pork fat until just cooked.  Add in taco seasoning.  Place turkey with vegetables.  Stir in cream cheese and stir until melted.  Add sour cream and mozzarella.  In a 6 x 10 spoon half of tomatill sauce.  Spoon filling into tortillas and place, seam side down, into casserole dish.After rolling all the tortillas, spoon remainder fo tomatill sauce over top.

I covered and baked it but they were a tad soggy, next time I think I would leave it uncovered.  I guess it all depends on how 'soupy' your salsa verde sauce is.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mint Chocolate Brownies

What is it about the combination of chocolate and mint that makes me go stark raving mad?  I have given up sugar but I have to admit I had two of these.  Not bad considering they called me regularly from the pantry. The kids really enjoyed them. 

Even though I have a Hershey's Kiss there in the picture, I didnt use those in the brownies.  The recipe is from Hersheys and it is suppose to have York peppermint patties in in.  I didnt have any of those but I did have Ande's mints, the peppermint ones that were out at Christmas.  Yes, they are still around.  I told you I gave up sugar.  If I had not they would all be gone by now.

This makes a big pan, which is great if you are going to take them to some kind of function.  Next time I make them I will use the York Peppermint Patties.

Here it is if you want to try it. Now dont swallow your tongue when you see that this recipe has five eggs in it.  I know, its a lot but trust me it does not taste eggy and these are very chewy and delicious.

Mint Chocolate Brownies
Adapted from this recipe at Hershey's.

1 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
5 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups sugar
24 Ande's peppermint candies
1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter or margarine , melted

Spray a 13 x 9 pan and heat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, mix butter, sugar and vanilla.  Mix thoroughly.  Add in eggs, one at a time.  In a seperate bowl combine dry ingredients and add it to the wet ingredients.  Stir just until combined.  Take half of mixture and smooth into pan.  Place chocolates over top then pour the remaining batter over the top.  Bake for 50 to 55 minutes.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

This really was a happy accident.  I ran out of flour the other day.  I thought I didnt have anymore.  I went to my pantry and actually found some.  I dumped it in my flour container that stays on my counter.  Something just didn't seem right about the way it poured.  Hmmm.  Chocolate Chip Cookies were on the docket for the day..  I started making them.  Added all my ingredients and it didn't come together... at all.  It was a bowl of a crumbly mess.  I added another egg hoping to bind the mass together.  It helped a lot but it still wasn't perfect.  I decided to trudge on despite its strange behavior.  I had a hard time forming cookies.  I ended up making them bigger because it was kind of a pain to pack them.

The next morning I made pancakes and realized exactly what had occurred.  I had poured gluten free flour inside of my flour container.  I forgot I had it.  And yes, I am grateful to have plenty and I try not to waste ever!

Wow.  I love these cookies.  I think this is how I will make my chocolate chip cookies from now on.  They weren't nearly as sweet as their gluten charged counterparts.  And for sure they were not greasy as chocolate chop cookies can sometimes be.  One of my tasters pointed that out.

I thought they would dry up but on day five they were just as chewy and delicious as on day one. All gone now.

I followed this recipe but added an egg.  I think next time I will add two tablespoons of milk just to see if that helps with forming them.  Otherwise I really would not change a thing.  And frankly I am scared to add the milk next time because I did really like these as they were. It was just making the cookie that was kind of a challenge.

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 1/2 cups gluten free flour ( King Arthur blend)
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
8 ounces unsalted butter
1 pound chocolate chips or your favorite chocolate chopped up
2 teaspoons vanilla or the seeds of one vanilla bean scraped

Cream the butter and the sugars together.  About five minutes.  Add in eggs, one at a time. Then vanilla.  In another bowl combine, flour, salt and baking soda. Fold in chocolate.  Chill if you like, but it is not necessary.

Bake at 350F about 12 minutes.  They will appear golden on the outside but they will still be chewy in the center.  Cool on rack.

Update:  Made these again today and I did nearly everything the same but I only added a cup of white sugar.  I dont know why I missed putting in the brown sugar but I did.  I thought, half cup is not really a lot so I added 1/2 cup more of white sugar- never adding any other sugar.  They were still good.  Would make these again as well.  A lot less sugar.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Emerald Macarons with Lime Buttercream

In case you haven't heard- emerald is the color of Spring 2013.  Lots of emerald.  Who exactly decides this I dont know.  While it is not my favorite color, it did inspire these macarons- not to mention St.  Paddys day.

I loved this butter cream.  I love lime so that is no surprise there.  The jello really gave this a big punch of flavor.  In the future I would not be opposed to adding it to my butter cream.  I am thinking strawberry for Spring...  If Spring ever arrives!

Happy St. Paddy's Day. Happy every day.
Lime Buttercream

zest of a lime
2 tablespoons of powdered lime jello
juice of one lime
1 to 2 pounds of confectioners sugar
1/2 cup or 4 ounces of unsalted butter
2 tablespoons+ milk

Cream butter and add in confectioners sugar a cup at a time until you get the desired consistency.  Sprinkle in lime jello and zest of lime as well as lime juice.  Beat again.  Add milk for desired consistency as well.  You want it so that you can pipe it without oozing out all over. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Pumpkin Muffins: Minimal sugar or Maximum sugar

I have been on a kick for these muffins.  Too busy making them to post them.  Seriously, I have made several batches.  I gave up sugar about three or four weeks ago.  I still have it in my coffee or tea and a hard candy here and there but no desserts, except for special occasions.  And you know what?  Its been wonderful.  I feel better.  I do not have an insatiable hunger all day.  Its like the monkey on my back has relocated somewhere else.  Hopefully to a tree and not to another person.

These muffins are great in the morning but sometimes I eat them when I want something sweet.  By people who eat sugar all the time, these muffins are not sweet. But if you do not eat sugar very much, these are perfect.

I had some pumpkin left over and decided to make my kids the souped up sugar kind.  I had a bite, while it is wonderful, to me it was cloyingly sweet.  To them, it was perfect.

Lots 'o' sugar or low sugar, your choice.  Both recipes are fabulous!

Pumpkin Muffins
Adapted from this recipe from the Tomato Head Blog

1 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
½ cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon molasses
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup milk
2 tablespoons crushed flax seed
¾ cup all purpose flour
¾ cup white wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda

In a large bowl whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, oil, molasses, salt, spices, and milk.    In another bowl whisk together the flours, flax seeds, baking powder and baking soda.   Add all at once the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix gently until all the ingredients are well combined. (do not over mix)  Let the batter sit, covered at room temperature for 30 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator*.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Scoop the batter into greased or paper lined muffin cups.  Bake the muffins for 20 – 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
Remove the muffins from the tin and allow them to cool.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes about 12 muffins. About 140 calories per muffin.

* I don't always do this.  I dont think it is totally necessary.

Adapted from Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread at Allrecipes

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 8.5 x 4 x 2.5 inch loaf pans. In a large with an electric mixer, combine pumpkin, eggs, oil, water, and sugar until well blended. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice until well combined. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour batter into the prepared pans.

Bake in preheated oven for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Green Salsa Verde, Chicken and Rice

This picture does not do this dish justice.  It was very tasty and very easy.  Since I already have green salsa made from my bumper crop of green tomatoes at the end of last summer, I thought this recipe idea was perfect.  The idea is from Kat of A Good Appetite.  Yes, I know green salsa is made from tomatillos.  I make it, I know.  But I used my poetic cooking license and made it with green tomatoes.  I just love when I can pull something from my freezer in the winter that was from my garden or the market in the summer.  Wholesome and good.  And easy to boot.  All that prep work all ready done! Layer it all in and voila!

Green Salsa Verde, Chicken and Rice

4 cups of cooked rice
1 jar pf green salsa- about 16 ounces. 
2 cups cooked chicken shredded or chopped ( I used chicken thigh meat)
2 cups mozzarella or pepper jack, shreddedd

Smooth out rice in a lightly sprayed 9 x 13 casserole dish.  Spoon green salsa over top, evenly distributing.  Sprinkle chicken over that and then the cheese.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.

I made this a second time without the chicken and it was equally delicious.