Friday, March 29, 2013

Blackberry Basil Lemonade

Blackberry Basil Lemonade recipe


It's Friday! And it is a holiday weekend and a long weekend for many!  And I'm jetting off to California today!  I say we celebrate with a tasty, summery cocktail.

This was born out of a desire to do a cocktail post, but also out of laziness.  You see, I didn't really feel like going back to the store, because I had just been there, so I looked in my fridge to see what I could find.  I had a carton of blackberries that I bought to eat with yogurt; I had basil that I bought for Remy's Ratatouille; and I had a random carton of lemonade.  Blackberry Basil Lemonade was born.

This drink is delightful, let me tell you!  It is so refreshing.  It has sweetness from the berries, herbal notes from the basil, and tartness from the lemonade.  The drink also turns a gorgeous, spring shade of pastel pink-purple as the juices from the berries are released.  Of course, you can keep this family friendly or you can add a splash of vodka for a grown-up version.





Blackberry Basil Lemonade

Non-alcoholic version

1 container high quality lemonade
2 cups blackberries
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
8 basil leaves, roughly torn

In the bottom of a jug, muddle blackberries, lime juice, sugar, and basil until blackberries are smashed.  Fill the jug half way with ice, then pour in the lemonade.

OR per cocktail

6-8 blackberries
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 basil leaves, roughly torn
1.5 ounces vodka
1/2 cup lemonade
Ice

In the bottom of a glass, muddle blackberries, lime juice, sugar, and basil until blackberries are smashed.  Fill the glass half way with ice, then add the vodka and lemonade.


Monday, March 25, 2013

SRC: Remy's Ratatouille



It is Secret Recipe Club reveal day!  Secret Recipe Club is a really fun way to explore new blogs.  Each month, the participants are assigned someone else's blog to secretly stalk and on reveal day, we share our recipes and are finally allowed to tell our new friend how much we love their blog.

This month, I was assigned Finding Joy in My Kitchen, a blog written by a lovely lady who goes by the pseudonym "SnoWhite."  She and her now husband learned to cook wholesome, budget-friendly meals as students, in part as a way to manage her food allergy, and SnoWhite now uses her blog as a way to document her adventures in the kitchen.  She does meal plans (something I really, really need to get better at) and is quite prolific, with tons of easy, delicious recipes to choose from!

In the end, I decided to make Remy's Ratatouille (named of course after the star of Pixar's movie).  In part, I picked it because it looked so cool.  The other reason I chose this recipe was that over the past month, I've seen a bunch of takes on ratatouille and I have been dying to make a version myself.  The dish turned out beautifully and of course, it was delicious too!  This would make a great side dish at a dinner party.  The only thing that I would change is the eggplant.  You will see below that I have added instructions to salt the eggplant and let it sit for a bit before assembling the casserole.  I find that helps reduce the bitterness that sometimes comes from roasting eggplant.  Otherwise, this is definitely a dish that I will make again!

Ratatouille for Secret Recipe Club



Remy's Ratatouille

Adapted from Finding Joy in My Kitchen (originally adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

1 medium eggplant
1 medium bell pepper
1 large tomato
1 medium zucchini
1 medium summer squash
2 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons red wine (optional)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil

Begin by slicing your eggplant, bell pepper, tomato, zucchini and summer squash into very thin slices.  This would be easiest with a mandolin cutter.

Lay the eggplant on some paper towels and sprinkle it with salt.  Cover with more paper towels and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. (This will ensure the eggplant isn't bitter).

In a large oval baking dish (approximately 10 inches in length), pour 1 tsp. olive oil, minced garlic, tomato sauce and wine.  Stir together and spread over the base of the dish.

Layer the veggies in the dish.  To do so, pick a location along the outside edge of the dish to start, and layer the zucchini, tomato, eggplant, bell pepper, summer squash (I used extra peppers in place of the squash).  Repeat layers until you have the entire dish filled around.  Then, fill in the center of the dish.  Drizzle the remaining olive oil on top, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and oregano.

Cover the dish – using a cookie sheet, parchment paper or foil.  Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.  If you use foil or parchment paper, do not tightly seal the dish, you want the steam to escape.

Remove the dish from the oven and shred some Parmesan cheese over the top of the veggies.  Return the dish to the oven, uncovered, and bake for an additional 5-7 minutes until cheese is melted.

Serve as a side or with rice or quinoa as a main.



Thursday, March 21, 2013

Blood Orange Pound Cake



Blood oranges are magical.  Orange on the outside, vibrant purples, oranges, reds, and pinks on the inside.   I am a huge fan.

This cake is slightly sweet with subtle notes of fragrant orange and warm spicy cardamom and cinnamon.  The glaze is an absolute treat.  Sweet and tart at the same time, and a pretty shade of pink.  It would make a lovely addition to a spring brunch, for Easter or a girl's baby shower.

Blood Orange Pound Cake

Adapted from Healthy, Delicious

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon salt
2 blood oranges, zested and juiced (should be approximately 4 tablespoons juice)
3/4 cup plain, 2% Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons blood orange juice


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Using a mixer to cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs and zest until mixture is pale and fluffy.  You want to incorporate lots of air into the batter here.

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt. In a third bowl, combine the orange juice, Greek yogurt, and vanilla.

Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture and mix gently, folding the dry ingredients into the egg mixture — just enough to combine without over-mixing. Add the wet ingredients and fold them in gently. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients.

Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely, then whisk together the glaze.  Pour the glaze over the cake, let set for 10 minutes before slicing and serving the cake.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Beef Stroganoff



Wow, it seems like forever since I have posted a recipe for K&K.  Kelsey has been bearing the load of the blog and the cooking.  With a compressed NHL season, I find that we are either busy with games or Tim is not home to eat so I skip cooking. Finally last week, Tim was home, the weather was cold and I was looking to make a winter comfort food meal as it was a rare cold day in Arlington!  One of my favorite winter meals is Beef Stroganoff and I was excited that I had all the ingredients on hand.  The only problem is my favorite recipe is in a cookbook in storage in Washington state.  So I choose a new and lighter recipe from allrecipes.com and into the kitchen I went.

When I make beef stroganoff I always use sirloin steak to insure the tenderness that I like!  I know that ups the cost but to me, any toughness to the meat ruins the meal and it often saves on cooking time. The reviews from allrecipes.com gave the recipe almost the full 5 star rating.  Although it was pretty good when I did a taste test, I decided it was lacking something so add added more dry mustard and veal demi grace from Williams Sonoma.  The final product was delicious, tender, and a five stars home cooked meal.


Beef Stroganoff III

By: Donna from allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

2 pounds beef sirloin steak
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 ounces butter 
1 medium onion, chopped
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed beef broth
1 teaspoon prepared mustard 
8 ozs fresh sliced mushrooms
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup white wine 
1 or 2 tablespoons of veal demi grace (I use William Sonoma's)
 salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste 
Yolk-less egg noodles -cook according to direction on package while stroganoff cooking!


Directions

1. Remove any fat from the sirloin steak and cut into strips 1/2 inch thick by 2 inches long. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of both salt and pepper.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and brown the beef strips quickly, then push the beef strips off to one side. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook slowly for 3 to 5 minutes, then push to the side with the beef strips.

3. Stir the flour into the juices on the empty side of the pan. Pour in beef broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and stir in mustard and veal demi grace. Cover and simmer for 1 hour or until the meat is tender.

4. Five minutes before serving, stir in the sour cream and white wine. Heat briefly then salt and pepper to taste. Serve on top of egg noodles.







Friday, March 15, 2013

Funfetti Rice Krispie Treats



Okay, in honor of St. Patrick's Day, I'm giving you a taste of the rainbow!  What are your St. Patrick's Day plans?  How about you make up a quick and tasty treat for your family and friends?

I made this extremely addicting version of Rice Krispie Treats for my friend Annie's birthday last week.  I wanted something easy (was making them after barre class at 9 pm) and portable (was taking the treats to the bar with me after work).  Well, these definitely fit the bill and based on the fact that they disappeared in a flash, I would say that the treats were also a crowd pleaser.  These treats seriously taste like funfetti cake and make for a really fun twist on the traditional recipe.  The addition of the cake mix is kind of a genius trick, in my books, and now that I have so much leftover cake mix, I will probably have to make these again soon!

Funfetti Rice Krispie Treats recipe

Funfetti Rice Krispie Treats

From Gimme Some Oven (originally from How Sweet It Is)

1/4 cup salted butter
1 (10 ounce) bag of mini marshmallows
5 cups Rice Krispies
1/3 cup yellow cake mix
2 tablespoons sprinkles

Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat and add marshmallows. Stir until they begin to melt, adding in (dry) cake mix one spoonful at a time so its combined. Stir in cereal so it is completely coated with marshmallow mixture. Sprinkle in half of the sprinkles and mix. Press into a baking dish (any size will do) and top with remaining sprinkles. Let sit for about 30 minutes before cutting. I find spraying a knife with nonstick spray helps to cut them cleanly.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Old Bay Hot Crab Dip



So, I'm a bit late with this one. I made this dip for the Super Bowl.  My mom sent me some Old Bay seasoning so I could make something that represented Maryland in support of the Ravens.  Well, the Super Bowl was ages ago and I'm just posting this for you all, because I forgot about this dip.  My friend reminded me of it this weekend though, so I figured it was time to put up the recipe!

This is a "lighter" version of crab dip, with calorie-rich mayo and cheeses subbed out for lighter Greek yogurt, Ricotta, cream cheese, and some Parmesan.  The Old Bay gives this tons of flavor.  The beer marinade was inspired by some crab dip that I had out at a restaurant. I used these pretzel bites for dipping and it was amazing!

Old Bay Hot Crab Dip

1 pound fresh crab meat, picked over for shells
3/4 cup beer (pale ale)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 scallion, minced
4 ounces light cream cheese
1/2 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt
1 cup light Ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
2 green onions, minced
1/2 cup Multigrain crackers, crushed
3 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Rinse the crab and pick it over for shells.  Place the crab in a small bowl and pour the beer over it.  Marinate the crab in the beer for 30 minutes. Drain the crab after 30 minutes.

While the crab is marinating, sauté the scallion in olive oil over medium heat until it starts to soften.  Add a teaspoon of dry mustard powder and 1/2 teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning, and sauté an additional 30 seconds.  Transfer the scallions to the bowl of a large food processor. Add the cream cheese, ricotta, Greek yogurt, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice.  Purée until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

In a large bowl, combine the crab, pureed cheese mixture, green onions, and an additional tablespoon of Old Bay seasoning. Stir well to combine.  Spread the mixture in an 8x8 inch baking dish.

Mix together crushed crackers, Parmesan cheese, and butter and spread evenly over the crab mixture.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Nutella Brownie Bites

Nutella Brownie Bites recipe



Happy Friday, everyone!  I made you a treat.

These little bite sized treats are so easy to make.  In fact, I could not believe how little effort I had to put into making them, particularly since they taste amazing and look exactly like those store-bought bite sized brownies.  These brownie bites were also ready in under 20 minutes.

You may also be surprised to know that these Nutella Brownie Bites only really have 3 ingredients.  Pretty wild.  At first, I was totally skeptical that this recipe would work, but the bites were perfectly chocolatey and sweetened and the right texture for brownies.  I decided to add a little bit of espresso powder to my recipe, because espresso powder tends to enhance the chocolate flavor, but you can skip that step if you don't have any on hand.


Nutella Brownie Bites recipe

Nutella Brownie Bites

1 cup Nutella
2 eggs
10 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
Hazelnuts for topping

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a mini-muffin pan with cooking spray.

Stir together Nutella, eggs, flour, and espresso powder (if you are using it) until the batter is smooth and all ingredients are incorporated.

Scoop brownie batter into the muffin tin, almost filling each hole.  Top with crushed hazelnuts.

Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350°F.

Adapted, recipe found via Pinterest which lead me to Savory Sweet Life and Abby Dodge




Monday, March 4, 2013

Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic Soup



Guys.  This is the best soup.  Like ever.

I was basically licking my bowl when I finished.

About a week ago, I didn't have a lunch packed for work. I had to go buy something to eat.  Since I wanted soup, I went to a great place in my building.  That day, one of the options was cauliflower soup.  I had never had cauliflower soup before, so I thought I would give it a try.  Well, my taste buds did a little dance to thank me for my choice!  The soup was amazing, and for the rest of the week I dreamed about recreating it.

In setting about my quest to recreate this delicious cauliflower soup, I imagined all the things that I would want in the soup.  Delicate leeks.  Caramelized roasted garlic.  And loads of Parmesan cheese.  When I finally made the soup, and it was beyond my wildest dreams.  It was creamy and complex.  And I shoveled it into my mouth, even though I was supposed to be leaving for barre class.  Then I felt like throwing up all through barre.  But it was worth it.

Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic Soup recipe


Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic Soup

1 medium head of cauliflower, cut in florets
2 leeks, sliced in 1/2 inch slices
6 cloves garlic
Olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup 10% cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Clean your cauliflower and leeks well.  Toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the leeks and cauliflower on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Place garlic cloves, in the skins, on aluminum foil.  Drizzle with olive oil, then wrap the foil into a packet to around the garlic.  Place the garlic in the oven with the cauliflower and leeks.  Roast for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes, remove the cauliflower and leeks and keep the garlic in the oven for an additional 10 minutes.

Toward the end of the roasting time, sauté onions for 5-7 minutes or until softened in a glug of olive oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add the roasted cauliflower, leeks, chicken broth, and thyme.  Season with salt and pepper.  When the garlic is done roasting, allow it to cool slightly then squeeze it out of the skin into the pot.  Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer for 20 minutes.

Take the pot off of the heat.  Add the cream and Parmesan cheese.  Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth.  If you don't have an immersion blender, transfer the soup to a blender and puree in batches.  Make sure to remove the plastic center of the blender lid to allow the steam to release.  Cover with a kitchen towel to avoid splatter. Blend, then serve.



Friday, March 1, 2013

The Paloma

Paloma Grapefruit Tequila Cocktail recipe

So, last Friday was National Margarita Day.  I'm pretty skeptical of any "national insert food here days," because there seems to be one for literally every food or drink you can think of, but I can get behind a day that celebrates the only way I like to drink tequila.  Well, margaritas were the only way I liked to drink tequila, until I discovered the Paloma, a super delicious tequila based cocktail.  In my mind, the Paloma is a poor man's margarita on the rocks, but with a fancy name.  You see, the only liquor you need is tequila, nothing else, no Cointreau or anything.  The Paloma is just tequila and fresh squeezed juice with a splash of club soda.  And for some reason, I just feel more sophisticated saying that I'm drinking a Paloma.  I really can't explain why.

I recently came across this article from Seattle Magazine about what your local bartenders want you to know.  One of the things that really stood out to me is that citrus based drinks are basically guaranteed to be super fresh, given the amount of citrus a typical bar goes through in a week.  You know that I love a good citrus based drink (e.g., Greyhounds, Meyer Lemon Tom Collins, Winter Sun), so the Paloma is right up my alley.  Next time you are in the mood for a margarita, switch things up and try this tasty concoction!

The Paloma

Per drink

1/4 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup tequila (white or gold is fine)
1 teaspoon sugar (you can sub in agave or honey, just adjust the amount as necessary)
Ice
Club Soda
Sugar for the rim

Using a leftover squeezed lime, coat the rim of a tall glass with juice.  Dip the rim of the glass in a small dish filled with sugar, turn, then tap the glass to remove the excess sugar.

Fill the glass with ice, then add grapefruit, lime juice, and sugar.  Stir well, then top with tequila.  Add club soda to fill the glass. Garnish with a slice of lime.

Paloma Grapefruit Tequila Cocktail recipe

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