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Thursday
Jan192012

Oven-roasted cauliflower florets

This is Week #50 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010: An Entire Year of Recipes.

I have always said that minus the first seven months of my life (WHICH MY PARENTS CONSTANTLY REMIND ABOUT), I was an incredibly easy child. I remember talking back to my parents, I don't know, TWICE. Seriously. My almost-five-year-old has been sass-talking every day of his little life since he turned three. I was what one would call a compliant child. I do not have many memories of being blatantly disobedient. And plus, as I ponder the great differences between my son and my younger self, I was a good eater from the beginning. I have always eaten my vegetables, and not because I wanted to please my parents. I adore vegetables.

One of my favorite veggies has always been cauliflower. I like it steamed, but my favorite preparation has always been crunchy and fresh. I have never, until now, roasted cauliflower, and I cannot believe what I have been missing! I loved the white, tree-like veggie before, but now I LOVE it.   

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. On a large rimmed baking sheet, place one 2 1/2-pound cauliflower cut into 2-inch florets. Drizzle the cauliflower florets with 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and toss well.

Roast for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is tender and golden brown. Transfer to plates and garnish with lemon wedges. 

Serve hot or at room temperature. Both are delicious, but the hot version won by a hair.

Back to my sass-talking, non-veggie-eating youngster who I love to pieces! 

Oven-Roasted Cauliflower Florets

Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables and this is one my favorite ways to enjoy it.

Contributed by Megan Porta from pipandebby.com.

Published Jan 19, 2012

Serves: 4

Total time: 40 min

Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredients:

  • One 2 1/2-pound cauliflower, cut into 2-inch florets
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 lemon wedges, for serving
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. On a large rimmed baking sheet, drizzle the cauliflower florets with the olive oil. Season them with salt and pepper and toss well. Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is tender and golden brown. Transfer to plates, garnish with the lemon wedges and serve hot or at room temperature.

 

 

Wednesday
Jan182012

Mixed-berry jam

This is Week #49 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010: An Entire Year of Recipes.

Well well well. I am weeks behind in this challenge. The one that was supposed to end back in 2011. Please forgive me. I have been a bit preoccupied with sweets! But I'm back on track. In fact, I hope to post the last of the recipes for this challenge this week!

This is the first time I have attempted jam, so I didn't know what to expect. Well guess what. I am head-over-heels in love, and I'm not the only person in this house who fell hard. My four-year-old ate every single bite of his pb&j for the first time ever! Crusts and all.

In a large saucepan, toss 1 pound of hulled and quartered strawberries with 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is mostly dissolved. This takes about 1 hour.

Squeeze 1/2 of a lemon (seeded) over the strawberries and add it to the saucepan. Bring to a boil until the sugar is completely dissolved. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the strawberries are just softened, about 5 minutes.

Add 1 pound of mixed blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. 

Cook over moderate heat until the liquid runs off the side of a spoon in thick, heavy drops, 20 to 25 minutes. Skim any scum that rises to the surface.

Discard the lemon.

Spoon the jam into three 1/2-pint jars, leaving about 1/4 inch of space at the top. Close the jars and let cool to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

This stuff is seriously delicious, you guys. I hope you enjoy!

Mixed-Berry Jam

My FAVORITE homemade jam! (Source: Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2010)

Contributed by Megan Porta from pipandebby.com.

Published Jan 18, 2012

Serves: Three 1/2-pint jars

Total time: 1 hr, 40 min (plus cooling)

Mixed-Berry Jam

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 lemon, seeded
  • 1 pound mixed blueberries, blackberries and raspberries
Instructions:
  1. In a large saucepan, toss the strawberries with the sugar and let stand, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is mostly dissolved, about 1 hour.
  2. Squeeze the lemon over the strawberries, add it to the saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the strawberries are just softened, 5 minutes. Add the mixed berries; cook over moderate heat until the liquid runs off the side of a spoon in thick, heavy drops, 20 to 25 minutes. Skim any scum that rises to the surface.
  3. Discard the lemon; spoon the jam into three 1/2-pint jars, leaving about 1/4 inch of space at the top. Close the jars and let cool to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

 

 

Tuesday
Jan172012

Chocolate cream cakes

Somehow, in some way, I was able to keep from licking my fingers while making these cakes. If you know me and my intense love for sweets, you will find this to be a small miracle. The down side of being on a strict diet while running a food blog is not being able to test everything I make, which is something I am very particular about. If I make something that I believe to be average, I do not share it here. Not having tried these cakes myself, I made an exception since they received such a raving endorsement from my husband and a handful of other people. Besides, aren't they just cute?

(Source: delish.com)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Coat four 4-inch nonstick individual springform pans with cooking spray. 

In a medium bowl, combine:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, combine:

3/4 cup sour cream 

1/3 cup canola oil

1 egg

1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Flour mixture

Mix until incorporated. Spread into the prepared pans and bake for 28 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the wire rack and remove the sides and bottoms from the pans. Cool completely.

Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of cold water to a small saucepan. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of unflavored gelatin over the water and let stand for 1 minute to soften. Gently warm over low heat, stirring, until gelatin dissolves and is clear. Add 2 ounces of finely chopped white chocolate and stir until it is melted and mixture is smooth. 

In a medium bowl, add 3/4 cup heavy cream. Add chocolate from the saucepan to the heavy cream and stir until combined. Chill for 15 minutes in the refrigerator.

Beat with a handheld mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Transfer the filling to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip.

With a knife, slice the cakes open from the sides. Cut them into 2 even layers, but stop three quarters of the way. Pipe the filling into the middle of each cake. 

Press the cakes together gently. Place on a wire rack set over a jellyroll pan.

Chop 6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate.

Place the chocolate in a small bowl.

In a liquid glass measuring cup, bring 1/2 cup heavy cream and 2 tablespoons light corn syrup to boil in the microwave. Pour the mixture over the chocolate.

Let stand for 2 minutes and whisk until smooth. Spoon the glaze over the cakes, allowing the excess to run off into the jellyroll pan.

Refrigerate to set glaze.

Place 2 ounces of finely chopped white chocolate into a resealable Ziploc bag and seal. Place bag in a bowl of very hot tap water. Let stand for 5 minutes until chocolate is melted.

Snip off one corner of the bag and drizzle the melted chocolate over top of the cakes. Refrigerate to set.

I'm going to have to make these again. They look way too good not to try myself.

Chocolate Cream Cakes

It's like a giant Hostess Cupcake! All for you! (source: delish.com)

Contributed by Megan Porta from pipandebby.com.

Published Jan 17, 2012

Serves: 4 cakes (8 servings)

Total time: 1 hr, 15 min

Chocolate Cream Cakes

Ingredients:

  • CAKES
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • FILLING
  • 1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • GLAZE
  • 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • WHITE TOPPING
  • 2 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
Instructions:
  1. CAKES: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 4 (4-inch) nonstick individual springform pans with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, combine sour cream, oil, egg, vinegar and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture. Spread in prepared pans. Bake 28 minutes. Let cool in pans on wire rack for 5 minutes. Invert cakes onto wire rack; remove the sides and bottoms of pans. Cool completely.
  2. FILLING: Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small saucepan; let stand 1 minute to soften Gently heat over low heat, stirring, until gelatin dissolves and is clear. Add white chocolate; stir until melted and mixture is smooth. Stir mixture into heavy cream in a medium bowl; chill 15 minutes. Beat with a handheld mixer on high until stiff peaks form. Transfer filling to a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch plain tip.
  3. With a knife, slice cakes open from sides. Cut into 2 even layers but stop three quarters of the way. Pipe some filling into the middle of each cake. Press cakes together; place on a wire rack set over a jellyroll pan.
  4. GLAZE: Put bittersweet chocolate in a small bowl. Bring cream and corn syrup to a boil in a 2-cup glass measure in the microwaves. Pour over chocolate. Let stand 2 minutes; whisk until smooth. Spoon the glaze over cakes, letting excess run off into the jellyroll pan. Refrigerate to set glaze.
  5. WHITE TOPPING: Put the white chocolate into a 1-quart resealable food-storage bag; seal bag. Place bag in a bowl of very hot tap water. Let stand 5 minutes until melted. Snip off one corner of the bag; drizzle melted chocolate over top of cakes. Refrigerate to set.

 

 

Sunday
Jan152012

No yeast cinnamon rolls

While my boys and I were in North Carolina visiting family a few weeks ago, I did a search for a quick (no yeast) cinnamon roll recipe to make for breakfast one morning. These delicious-looking rolls popped up from Young Married Chic. Mostly I wanted quick, but was hoping for delicious, too. While we ate, I heard the comment, "These are the best cinnamon rolls I have ever eaten." That comment came from my seventy-five-year-old father, who happens to love food more than anything the world. Anything in the world besides his family, that is.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Pour 1 tablespoon of melted butter into a 9-inch round cake pan. Brush to coat the entire perimeter of the pan.

Make the filling.

In a small bowl, combine:

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 granulated sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon salt

Add 1 tablespoon of melted butter and stir until crumbly. Set aside.

Make the dough.

In a medium bowl, combine:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

In a separate bowl, combine:

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

2 tablespoons butter, melted

Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until the liquid is just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until just smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Roll the dough into a 9x12-inch rectangle. Brush the surface of the dough with 1 tablespoon of melted butter.

Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Gently press the filling into the dough, and loosen the dough from the work surface. Starting at a long edge, roll the dough to form a log.

Pinch seam to seal. Seam-side down, cut the log into eight equal pieces. Place one roll in the center of the prepared pan, and the seven remaining rolls around it in a circle. 

Brush with 2 tablespoons of melted butter. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 28 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow rolls to cool for 5 minutes. While the rolls are cooling, prepare the glaze.

In a small bowl, combine:

3 oz. cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons buttermilk, at room temperature

Whisk until smooth. Add 4 tablespoons of confectioners' sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Whisk until a smooth glaze forms, about 30 seconds.

Use a knife to loosen the rolls from the outer edge of the pan. Place a plate over the top of the pan and invert the rolls onto the plate. Place a serving platter on the inverted rolls and flip them over again.

Drizzle the glaze evenly over the rolls and serve.

So there you go, friends. The best cinnamon rolls my food-loving father has ever eaten!

No Yeast Cinnamon Rolls

Ditch the yeast! Simplify! (source:youngmarriedchic.com)

Contributed by Megan Porta from pipandebby.com.

Published Jan 15, 2012

Serves: 8

Total time: 1 hr

No Yeast Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • FILLING
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • DOUGH
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted (divided)
  • GLAZE
  • 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk, at room temp
  • 4 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Pour 1 tablespoon of melted butter into a 9-inch nonstick cake pan. Brush to coat entire perimeter of pan.
  2. FILLING: In a small bowl, combine dark brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Add butter and stir until mixture is crumbly; set aside.
  3. DOUGH: In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk and 2 tablespoons butter. Add to the flour mixture and stir until liquid is just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until just smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Roll dough into a 9x12-inch rectangle. Brush surface of the dough with 1 tablespoon butter.
  4. Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough, leaving ½-inch border around edges. Gently press the filling into the dough. Loosen dough from work surface. Starting at a long edge, roll dough to form a log. Pinch seam to seal.
  5. Seam-side down, cut the log into eight equal pieces. Place one roll in the center of the prepared pan. Place the seven remaining rolls around it in a circle. Brush with 2 tablespoons butter. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 28 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow rolls to cool for 5 minutes. While the rolls are cooling, prepare the glaze.
  6. GLAZE: In a small bowl, whisk together the cream cheese and buttermilk until smooth. Add confectioners’ sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Whisk until smooth glaze forms, about 30 seconds.
  7. Use a knife to loosen the rolls from the outer edge of the pan. Place a plate over top of the pan and invert rolls onto the plate. Place a serving plate on the inverted rolls and flip them over again. Drizzle glaze evenly over rolls and serve.

 

 

Wednesday
Jan112012

White chocolate rice krispie hearts

Do you have any idea how difficult it is not to lick chocolate off your fingers when chocolate is on your fingers? This was the first batch of goodies I made after starting my migraine diet. I have realized in the past week how easy and mindless it is to pop a piece of food into my mouth here and there. I have stopped myself about five thousand times from eating things that are on my RESTRICTED list. 

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and I am happy that I did not decide to do this diet in February. My husband and I have a V-Day tradition that involves steak and crab legs and potatoes and a bottle of wine. We have always put most of our efforts into the main meal, so we have never attempted a dessert on that day. This year I plan to change that!

In the meantime, I have a few fun little Valentine's Day treats that I have thought up and would like to share with all of you!

Coat a 9x13-inch pan with cooking spray and set aside. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add a 10.5-ounce package of miniature marshmallows to the saucepan and stir until the mixture is completely smooth. Remove from the heat and add 15-25 drops of red food coloring, depending on how red or pink you would like your hearts to be. Add 6 cups of Rice Krispies cereal and stir until well coated.

Spread the mixture into the prepared pan. Use a rubber spatula to press the mixture down into the pan so it is distributed evenly. Let the pan sit for 1 hour to harden a bit.

Using heart-shaped cookie cutters, cut shapes out of the bars.

Set the hearts on a cutting board. As for the remnants left in the pan, hopefully you have eager mouths to help you "get rid" of them!

Place 4 ounces of finely chopped white chocolate in a Ziploc bag* and zip the bag. Drop it into a bowl of hot tap water and let sit for 5 minutes. 

* If you would like red or pink chocolate for some of your hearts, divide the chocolate out between Ziploc bags (before placing them into the bowl with hot water) and add desired amount of food coloring to each bag. 

Massage bag(s) with fingers until smooth. Cut a 1/4-inch piece from one of the corners of the bag(s) and squirt chocolate onto the tops of the hearts. Smooth the tops with the back of a spoon, letting the chocolate drip down the sides of the bars. Sprinkle heart or other decor over the top, if desired. Allow the chocolate to cool, and serve!

I love the cute, chubby hands reaching for a couple more candy hearts. :)

Seven days of my diet down, twenty-three to go! 

Click here for a printable recipe!