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Wednesday
Apr272011

Chopped salad with grapes and mint

This is Week #17 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 made this chopped salad on Sunday and I have had it for lunch every day since. Well, except for yesterday when I met my husband for sushi only to return to work to find that roasted chicken, glazed carrots and mashed potatoes had been brought in by the company. My intention was to take just a teeny sampling of the food because, goodness, I had just eaten lunch. But my "sampling" turned into an entire heaping plate of food, which I had no problem stuffing into my face. Then someone said to me, "You have to try the carrot cake!" I do? Ok. So I tried the carrot cake. And then my belly hurt until dinner, which I wasn't at all hungry for.

So aside from that ridiculous double-lunching day, I have been enjoying this salad for my lunches all week. It's the absolute perfect lunch, packed with flavor and nutrients and it didn't leave me feeling either hungry or full. I'm pretty sure I emptied the salad bowl this morning, so tomorrow I'll be back to Ramen noodles. Wooo.

In a large bowl, combine:

1 heart of romaine, coarsely chopped

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1 medium cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 small red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 cup corn kernels

1 cup diced cooked chicken (I used meat from a Rotisserie chicken)

1/2 cup green grapes, halved

1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Toss all ingredients together and serve!

By the way, I combined the ingredients for the dressing separately since I knew I would be eating the salad over the course of a few days.

I loved it! Totally delicious!

Click here for a printable recipe!

Tuesday
Apr262011

Chocolate-berry ice cream cake

I have come to realize that some of the same issues that plague me as a human being also plague my 4-year-old. I have always struggled greatly with patience. Or, more accurately, impatience. And I didn't really see this as a problem until I experienced the frustrations surrounding the impatience of my oldest child. So now I figure, if I'm constantly telling Elijah to "Please be patient!" then I had better exercise some patience myself. Like, when it is practically May and snow is in the forecast, I remind myself to CONTINUE BEING PATIENT WITH THIS TERRIBLE WINTER. Spring will come eventually. It will stop snowing, blowing and raining and the sun will shine again. Won't it?

So even though spring hasn't truly arrived here in our little part of the world, that doesn't mean I can't prepare food that makes me think of it! I made this ice cream cake for Easter dessert on Sunday, when the weather was actually delightful. We indulged in ice cream while the sun shone, even if for a short while.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly coat an 8-inch springform pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together:

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Whisk in:

1 large egg yolk

1/4 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup warm water

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pour the batter into the greased pan.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Allow the cake to cool completely.

Place 1 cup of fresh blackberries in a medium bowl and mash gently with a fork.

Stir in 1 pint of softened vanilla ice cream.

Spread the ice cream-blackberry mixture in an even layer over the cooled cake. Freeze until the ice cream is very firm, at least 2 hours.

Spread 1 pint of softened raspberry sorbet in an even layer over the top of the ice cream and freeze for 1 additional hour.

Top with fresh blackberries, if desired. I adore the sweet-tartness of fresh blackberries!

And go ahead and pretend it is spring! Or maybe it actually is spring where you live??

Click here for a printable recipe!

Saturday
Apr232011

Roasted pork with black-eyed pea salad

Here I go, making more pork. I had no idea there were so many delicious ways to season, cook and flavor pork. The Other White Meat has officially shown me its true versatility. It's been fun, delicious and satisfying exploring this meat.

I still owe you all a post detailing my mother's amazing pork-chop-making process, but in the meantime here is another delicious way to prepare pork!

(Source: Everyday Food: From the Kitchens of Martha Stewart Living)

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine:

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (use 1/4 tsp for less heat)

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Place 2 small pork tenderloins (10 oz. each) or 1 large tenderloin (1 1/2 lbs.) on a rimmed baking sheet. Rub the pork with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and sprinkle all over with the spice mixture, patting the meat gently.

Roast in the preheated oven until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 150 degrees F. This will take somewhere around 20-25 minutes.

While the pork is cooking, combine the following ingredients in a medium bowl:

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 can (15-oz.) black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed

1 package (10-oz.) frozen corn kernels, thawed

1 red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, finely diced

2 scallions, thinly sliced

Salt and pepper, to taste

Toss the ingredients together and serve with sliced pieces of the tenderloin.

 

The heat from the meat rub, the freshness of the salad and the juiciness of the pork all taste soooo good together.

Click here for a printable recipe!

Wednesday
Apr202011

Passion fruit ice cream pie

This is Week #16 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.

This recipe went on my Sunday List. That is, things I will only make on Sunday nights so I have limited time to be around them. I'm lucky to have coworkers who are willing to consume my goodies, so on Mondays I bring anything that was made the day before and is too dangerous to be in my house with me to work. 

Do you see what I'm saying? Dangerous!

This pie was so much fun to make, and the one (large) slice that I allowed myself to eat was heavenly. It's a perfect spring-time pie, you know, if spring were to actually arrive. There is a fresh layer of snow on the ground right now, on APRIL 20th, so we are still waiting upon that elusive season known as spring.

Before you start the pie, make a batch of dulce de leche. Or buy a 16-oz. jar of it at the store.

In a food processor, combine:

One 8-oz. box gingersnaps, lightly crushed

1 dried sweetened pineapple ring, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons candied ginger, coarsely chopped

4 tablespoons butter, softened

Process until fine crumbs form.

Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and 1 inch up the side of a 9-inch springform pan. Freeze until firm, about 10 minutes.

In a food processor, combine:

1 1/4 cups dulce de leche

1/2 cup passion fruit nectar

Process until smooth.

Spread 1 pint of vanilla ice cream inside the chilled crust. Using a small spoon, scoop 2 more pints of vanilla ice cream into the crust, leaving some nooks and crannies.

Drizzle 3/4 cup of the dulce de leche sauce over the ice cream, allowing it to pool in spots.

Sprinkle with:

1/4 cup salted roasted pistachios, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons shredded sweetened coconut

Freeze until firm, at least 2 1/2 hours.

Remove the ring from the pan and cut the pie into wedges. Serve the extra dulce de leche sauce at the table.

The ginger in the crust adds such a unique flavor to this pie. Insanely delicious!

Click here for a printable recipe!

Wednesday
Apr202011

How to make dulce de leche

I had no idea how easy it was to make dulce de leche (translation: milk candy) until three days ago. Doesn't it sound like something that would require candy thermometers and a lot of stirring and sweating over a hot stove? Well, guess what? It's not! And if you enjoy baking, think of all of the baked goods you could put dulce de leche in, on or over. Cakes, cookies, brownies, pies...mmmmmm..

(I adapted this from David Lebovitz's recipe.)

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.

The only ingredient you will need is a can of sweetened condensed milk. Yep! That's it! Pour the entire can into a round baking dish and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Place the dish inside a larger baking dish such as a 9x13 pan. Pour 1 inch of hot water into the bottom of the outer dish.

Bake in the preheated oven for 70-80 minutes. You will need to top off the water in the outer dish a couple times throughout the baking process.

And after just over an hour, your sweetened condensed milk has magically transformed into dulce de leche! It should resemble caramel when it is finished. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool. Whisk it until it is free of clumps.

Now add it to your baked good or ice cream of choice! Store extra in a sealed container in the refrigerator.