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Bloggy Day & another contest!

I don't think either Ebby or I took a single non-food-related photo on our Bloggy Cooking Day this past Saturday. We cooked and baked an insane amount of treats and had more than a dozen women over to help us eat everything. It was a huge success and a ton of fun! We will definitely do another one of these soon (with my gracious husband's permission, of course). And we will get all of our Bloggy Day recipes posted, but it might take us a few weeks. Chantal and Joan, your appetizer recipes turned out amazing!

Now for another contest!

This one will be super easy. Leave a comment on this post, saying anything at all, and we will pick two random commenters as the winners (using Please include your blog address if you would like for us to provide a link when we announce the winners.

You can thank my sister because she has kindly offered to take care of the prizes for this contest. She will send each of our two winners her favorite scented 22-oz. jar candle from Colonial Candles. Each candle is a $24.99 value.

The contest starts now and ends at midnight on February 20th. Good luck!


Lemon curd

What a sad, sorry name for such a delicious food. Lemon curd? It sounds like a terrible mistake occurred while someone attempted to create cottage cheese. Perhaps lemon juice got into the mixture and it sat in the heat for a few days. But let me tell you, lemon curd is not that. It is far far from that. It is a light, delicious lemon filling that gets misjudged by its name. I know this because I myself misjudged it for years. Now I dream of bathing in it. Perhaps filling a large swimming pool with it and swimming endless laps.

Lemon curd acts as a delicious filling for baked goods, and can also complement a number of other foods. Be creative! Add it to oatmeal, yogurt or toast; use it as a dip for apples or as a pastry filling.

Set aside 2 egg yolks and 2 large eggs.

In a medium bowl, beat the following ingredients with a hand mixer until light and fluffy:

6 tablespoons softened butter

1 cup sugar

Beat in the 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks one at a time. Beat for 1 more minute.

Stir in 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Ok, so maybe this is where the "curd" part of the name comes from. The mixture appears slightly curdled here, but fret not!

Add the mixture to a medium saucepan and cook over low heat until it is smooth. Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 170 degrees F. This takes about 5 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of grated lemon zest.

Once it has cooled, scoop it into a bowl and press plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Click here for a printable recipe!


Lemon buttercream frosting

I have a great weakness for frosting. Whether it adorns a cake or a cupcake or a spoon or my finger, I do not care. Consisting mainly of that ingredient I love so much called sugar, it is one of the foods I have a very hard time resisting. This lemon buttercream frosting is incredibly light and delicious. It went great with the three-layer lemon cake I recently made, and it would be a good topping for a number of other baked goods, as well.

In a medium bowl, beat the following ingredients with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy:

1 cup softened butter

2 tablespoons lemon zest

Add 3 1/2 cups of confectioners' sugar in batches and beat until light and fluffy. Add 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and beat for 1 more minute.

Don't allow your three-year-old to try a sample or you will risk losing half the batch.

Click here for a printable recipe!


Double chocolate brownie cakes

This is Week #6 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2010

Although I do adore chocolate, there are a handful of foods I place before it on my Foods I Love list. I rarely crave chocolate, but if it is set before me I will not turn it down. There are only a few chocolatey treats that make my stomach rumble just by thinking about them. Chocolate caramel brownies are one, Twix bars are another, but that is basically it. So when I set out to make this recipe, I thought, Eh, I'll be able to resist them, no problem!

Sooo I was kinda wrong about that. Once I sunk my teeth in for my "test bite," I knew I was in trouble. These little "cakes" are perfectly delicious. They are rich, but not too rich. They are just the right kind of chocolatey gooey-ness.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 8 cups in a standard-size muffin pan.

In a small saucepan, melt 1 stick, plus 2 tablespoons of butter. Add 1 ounce of chopped milk chocolate (or milk chocolate chips) and whisk until it is melted. Let cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together:

3 tablespoons cake flour

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, add:

2 large eggs

3/4 cup sugar

Using a handheld mixer, beat together until pale and thick, about 5 minutes.

Beat in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Beat in the melted chocolate-butter mixture and the dry ingredients in 3 additions, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally with a rubber spatula.

Stir in 4 ounces of additional chopped milk chocolate (or milk chocolate chips).

The mixture will be a bit chunky.

Spoon the batter into 8 muffin cups and bake for about 22 minutes, or until the cakes are risen and springy.

Let the cakes cool and turn them out onto a wire rack. Serve warm, with ice cream. Mmmmmmmmm.

Click here for a printable recipe!


Salsa verde enchiladas

I should have been born Mexican. Mexican food and drink make me swoon and salivate. Tortillas, cheese, beans, salsa, tequila, hot peppers. I could bathe in the above ingredients for weeks on end.

I am constantly scanning cookbooks, magazines and the internet for new Mexican concoctions. I found this Salsa Verde Enchilada recipe in Good Housekeeping and instantly adored it because it was Mexican and because it was unique. Using meat from rotisserie chickens? Brilliant! Why didn't I think of that? Have you ever started eating one of those chickens and ended up finishing the entire thing? Yeah, me either.

This recipe makes a total of 16 enchiladas in 2 separate baking dishes, so halve the recipe if you wish.

Remove the meat from 2 rotisserie chickens and coarsely shred it. Place the shredded meat in a medium bowl, discarding the skin and bones.

Evenly coat the chicken with 1/2 cup salsa verde.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease two 9x13 baking dishes.

Place in a large skillet:

Two 16-oz. jars salsa verde (minus the 1/2 cup that was mixed in with the chicken)

6 green onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

Heat to boiling over medium-high heat. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in 2 tablespoons of fresh, chopped cilantro and reduce the heat to low.

With tongs, place 1 tortilla in the salsa verde mixture, coating it completely. Heat it for 10 seconds and place it on a sheet of waxed paper. Top with about 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture, and roll up the tortilla.

Place it, seam side down, in the baking dish and repeat with the remaining tortillas and chicken, arranging 8 tortillas in each dish.

Add to the remaining salsa verde mixture:

8 oz. sour cream

1/2 cup chicken broth

Stir and spoon the mixture over the filled tortillas.

Cover the baking dishes with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle the enchiladas in each dish with 4 oz. shredded Mexican cheese and fresh cilantro. Bake for 5 more minutes.

Total delicious, Mexican yumminess!

Click here for a printable recipe!