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Monday
May302011

Strawberries and cream bars

I took my boys to the park tonight and I sweated like crazy while we were there. I know, not necessarily an appetizing thing to imagine, but I loved it! This past winter was traumatizing and so so cold and I promise you that I will never ever complain about heat again. EVER. Bring it on. Now that "summer" is here, I'm starting to get excited about summer foods. I found this dessert in Martha's Everyday Food magazine and knew that I had to make it. It is delicious and packed with summery flavors. Perfect for a hot hot day!

In a blender or food processor, combine:

2 pounds strawberries, hulled and halved

3/4 cup sugar

Pinch of coarse salt

Puree until smooth. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish and transfer to the freezer. Scrape with a fork every 30 minutes until mixture is thick and slushy for about 2 total hours.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat 7 large egg whites on high speed until foamy. With mixer on medium, gradually add 3/4 cup sugar. Increase speed to high and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 3 minutes.

In another medium bowl, beat the following on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 1 to 2 minutes:

2/3 cup cold heavy cream cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

With a rubber spatula, gently fold whipped cream into egg white mixture. Pour over the strawberry mixture and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Freeze until firm, about 4 hours (or, covered, up to 3 days), before cutting into 12 squares.

Summer, I LOVE YOU. Seriously, seriously love you.

Strawberries and Cream Bars

These beauties are summer in the form of dessert! (source: Food Everyday: Martha Stewart)

Serves: 12

Total time: 2 1/2 hrs, plus 4 hrs freezing time

Strawberries and Cream Bars

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds strawberries, hulled, halved if large (6 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • Coarse salt
  • 7 large egg whites
  • 2/3 cups cold heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Instructions:
  1. In a blender, combine strawberries, ¾ cup sugar, and pinch of salt and puree until smooth. Pour into a 9x13-inch baking dish. Transfer to freezer and scrape with a fork every 30 minutes until mixture is thick and slushy, 2 hours. Smooth top with a rubber spatula.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat egg whites on high until foamy. With mixer on medium, gradually add ¾ cup sugar. Increase speed to high and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, 3 minutes. In another medium bowl, beat cream and vanilla on high until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. With rubber spatula, gently fold whipped cream into egg white mixture. Pour over strawberry mixture and smooth top with rubber spatula. Freeze until firm, about 4 hours (or, covered, up to 3 days), before cutting into 12 squares.

 

 

Wednesday
May252011

Green chile bacon burgers with goat cheese

This is Week #21 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 need to take a picture of The Infamous Pile of Snow because, sadly, it still stands. It plays mind games with me. I'll be cruisin' out of work on a beautiful day, excited to get home and spend time outside with my family. And there it sits, around that first curve, staring at me. I find it impossible not to look back. Then I ask myself a series of questions: What season is it? Where do I live? Will that thing ever go away? Then I turn up the radio, roll down my windows and hurry home.

If I'm lucky, by the time I get home, my husband is starting to grill up some sort of delicious meat or veggie for dinner. At this point I am able to answer my questions with confidence: It is spring! I live in Minnesota! The snow will melt! Let's eat!

This burger was delicious. It made me happy. I ate some edamame salad along with it, so that made me doubly happy.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange 8 thick-cut slices of bacon on the paper and brush both sides with mango chutney. I couldn't find the chutney and I didn't have time to make it, so I used Jalapeno Strawberry Jam instead and it was awesome. It was the perfect happy accident.

Bake the bacon for about 30 minutes, turning once, until it is caramelized. Let cool.

Rub a poblano chile with olive oil. You might notice that I rubbed two poblano chiles and two jalapeno peppers with olive oil. I don't like to follow the rules when it comes to chiles and peppers. Grill the pepper(s) over medium heat until charred, about 5 minutes. Transfer them to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Peel the skin(s) off and coarsely chop the pepper(s).

Brush the cut sides of 4 hamburger buns with olive oil and grill just until toasted, about 30 seconds.

Brush 4 large tomato slices with oil and grill until lightly charred, about 1 minute. Place the grilled tomato slices on the bottom half of the buns.

Form 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef chuck (we used venison) into four 1-inch-thick patties and brush them with oil. Season with salt and pepper and grill over high heat, turning once, until the burgers are nearly medium-rare, about 6 minutes.

Top each burger with a slice of fresh goat cheese and the chopped peppers. Close the grill and cook until the cheese is completely melted and the burgers are medium-rare, about 1 minute.

Set the burgers on the buns, top with the bacon and a handful of watercress and serve immediately!

It is spring it is spring it is spring!

Click here for a printable recipe!

Monday
May232011

Edamame summer salad

Since the day I started this blog, I have been excited to write a post about this salad. I'm a huge lover of salads, so it holds great meaning when I tell you that this recipe is in my Salad Top 3 list. It is DELICIOUS. It is fresh and healthy and I could eat it every day of my life. I'm not kidding.

It is also super simple to throw together. And it's pretty. I'm sure it would also be a crowd-pleaser, but I wouldn't know this for sure because it never makes it to the crowd when I prepare it.

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil.

Add a 12-oz. package of frozen shelled edamame to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes.

Add 2 cups of frozen corn kernels to the saucepan and boil for 1 more minute.

Drain the corn and edamame very well and place in a large bowl, along with:

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

Juice from 2 limes

1 teaspoon white sugar

1 teaspoon coarse salt

2 cloves of garlic, very finely minced

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced

Mix well and chill before serving. Er, you know, if you have the willpower to do so. I always dig right in and have a hard time stopping, but it really is tastier when it is cold and when the ingredients have had a chance to intermingle.

I hope you all enjoy this one as much as I do!

Edamame Summer Salad

Super fresh and delicious, this is one of my all-time favorite salads.

Contributed by Megan Porta from pipandebby.com.

Published May 23, 2011

Serves: 8

Total time: 15 min, plus 2 hrs marination

Edamame Summer Salad

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  • 12-oz. package frozen shelled edamame
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
Instructions:
  1. In a large bowl, combine the red wine vinegar, olive oil, cilantro, lime juice, sugar, salt and garlic. Set aside.
  2. Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the edamame and boil for 3 minutes. Add corn to the boiling water and continue cooking for 1 minute. Drain well and pour into the bowl with the dressing. Gently mix in the cherry tomatoes and green onions. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

 

 


Friday
May202011

Grilled scallops with quinoa and fresh veggies

My second son is almost a year old, which seems absolutely insane. I remember those first seven weeks of his life when it literally felt like time was standing still. He refused to sleep during the day during that span of time, so I found myself walking a million laps a day around our home with him in my arms while also trying to care for a crazy 3-year-old. It was a stressful time, and I vividly recall thinking that time would never march on from that point. I felt like I would be walking laps to the soundtrack of wailing (toddler and newborn) forever.

And now it is almost a year later and it's hard to believe it's almost a year later! Time is so strange in that way, isn't it? You wish something away and then it goes by way too quickly.

One thing that hasn't gone too quickly, though, is the last 5 to 7 pounds of baby weight I've been carrying for the past nine months. I realize that 5 to 7 pounds is not a huge deal, but when you are stubborn and refuse to buy new clothes it kind of matters. So. As we near the one-year mark of the birth of our beautiful second son, I am buckling down. I am making even more of an effort than usual to prepare healthy meals and avoid unhealthy foods.

I came up with this creation on the fly the other night. It was another beautiful evening, so I stationed my husband at the grill with the seafood while I put the rest of the meal together in the kitchen. We both loved it.

Start by soaking 8-10 sea scallops in a few tablespoons of butter for about 20 minutes.

While the scallops are soaking, prepare 1 cup of quinoa according to package directions.

In a medium bowl, combine:

1 large tomato, diced

1 green or red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 large cucumber, peeled and diced

1 cup corn kernels

2 cloves garlic, very finely minced

Juice from 1 lime

2 tablespoons olive oil

Red pepper flakes, to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

While the quinoa is finishing up, sprinkle salt and pepper onto the buttery scallops and cook them on a grill over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side.

Serve all of the deliciousness together. Throw a pat of butter over the quinoa if you're feeling crazy. Or not. I didn't think it needed it.

After a (fairly) good week and some delicious healthy eating (oh, and sickness, too), I now only have 3-4 pounds to go!

Click here for a printable recipe!

Wednesday
May182011

Cheese-Stuffed Peppers

This is Week #20 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.

Since the moment I opened my F&W cookbook, this very recipe has been screaming to me. The weather is finally gorgeous, and I mean gorgeous, here in good ol' Minnesota (and yes, the pile of snow still stands, but it is slowly shrinking), so grilling season is in full swing! There is nothing better than coming home from work on a beautiful day and opening our doors and relaxing and playing with my boys outside while scents of grilled food float through the neighborhood. Aahhhh...

These stuffed peppers are a perfect grill-weather treat. They would be great as appetizers for a party or just a Mexican side dish. In my case, when I made them the other night, they were a full meal. My husband wasn't home from work yet and my boys had already eaten, so I sat with knife and fork and devoured two entire cheesy peppers all by myself. I am not ashamed.

To get started, combine the following in a medium bowl:

1 cup ricotta cheese

1 cup cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Light a grill.

Using a small, sharp knife, remove (and reserve) the stems from:

4 Anaheim or Cubanelle peppers

4 baby bell peppers

4 small poblano chiles

Cut around the insides of the peppers to detach the membranes and remove the seeds. Using a butter knife, fill the peppers with the cheese mixture and reattach the tops of the peppers. Rub the peppers with olive oil.

Grill the peppers over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until the peppers are blistered all over and the cheese filling is piping hot, about 7 minutes.

Transfer the peppers to plates and serve!

The warm, gooey cheese combined with the slight zing, and even sweetness, from the peppers makes an incredible little summertime treat.

Cheese-Stuffed Peppers

There's nothing better than having cheese ooze in your direction after slicing into a delicious grilled pepper! {Source: Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2010)

Serves: 4

Total time: 30 min

Cheese-Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 Anaheim or Cubanelle peppers
  • 4 baby bell peppers
  • 4 small poblano chiles
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for rubbing the peppers
Instructions:
  1. In a bowl, blend the ricotta with the cream cheese and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Light a grill or heat a grill pan. Using a small, sharp knife, remove the stems from the peppers and reserve. Cut around inside the peppers to detach the membranes and remove the seeds. Using a butter knife, fill the peppers with the cheese mixture and reattach the tops of the peppers. Rub the peppers with olive oil.
  3. Grill the peppers over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until the peppers are blistered all over and the cheese filling is piping hot, about 7 minutes. Transfer the peppers to plates and serve.