Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lemon Curd

I bought my first Meyer lemons last week and I am crazy about them.  They are currently sitting on my counter in glass bowl and they are bright and cheerful and they make me happy!  I never knew exactly what a Meyer lemon was, but after a little Google search, a Meyer lemon is a cross between a mandarin and a lemon.  They have a slightly sweeter smell and taste and they can be used to make a very delicious lemon curd.  I honestly could eat this stuff by the spoonful.  It is sweet, tart, and buttery.  It is lemon deliciousness!

Lemon Curd

4 large egg yolks
1 large whole egg
3/4 cup sugar (1 cup sugar if using regular lemons)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemons, strained
8 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

Strain the yolks and whole egg through a sieve into a heavy nonreactive saucepan.  Add the sugar and juice; whisk to combine.

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon, 10-12 minutes.  Immediately press curd through a strainer into a heat-proof bowl.  Stir in the butter, one piece at a time, until fully incorporated.

If not using immediately, cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.  Chill in an airtight container.

Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart

Monday, January 30, 2012

Caramel Walnut Tart

What could be bad about a caramel walnut tart with chocolate sauce and freshly whipped cream?  Nothing!  This tart was so yummy!

Caramel Walnut Tart

Tart Shell

1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
Pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour

In a medium bowl stir together all the ingredients.  The dough will be quite wet but can easily be pressed into a tart pan or spring form pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden.

Chocolate Glaze

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup cream fraiche
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Add the chocolate to a medium bowl.

In a small sauce pan, heat the cream and crème fraiche over medium heat.  Watch carefully as cream tends to bubble up and boil over quickly.  When bubbles appear all over the surface, remove from the heat and immediately pour over the chocolate.  Let sit for 1 minute and whisk to combine.

Can use immediately or store in a covered container in the fridge for 2 weeks.

Caramel Filling

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon crème fraiche
1 cup walnuts, toasted, roughly chopped

Place sugar, water, and lemon juice in a heavy, large saucepan.  Stir to combine.  Wash down the sides of the pan until no sugar remains.  Set on high heat and boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber color, about 7-10 minutes depending on the power of your stove and the pan you use.  If the sugar around the sides begin to caramelize more rapidly, gently swirl the pan to mix.

Remove from heat.  Whisk in butter, cream and crème fraiche (mixture will bubble vigorously).  Stir in walnuts.  Let cool until slightly thick before pouring into prepared crust.  Let cool until caramel is set.

Serve with drizzle of chocolate glaze and lightly whipped cream.

*Don't take your eyes off the caramel sauce, it can burn quickly (I learned this the hard way.  Black caramel and smoke, not fun)!

Recipe from Not Without Salt

Monday, January 23, 2012

Thai-Style Chicken Wraps

These are great for a light dinner and perfect for a yummy lunch. 

Thai-Style Chicken Wraps

4 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 1/2 tablespoons hot water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas
2 chicken breasts, grilled and sliced thin
1 cup red bell pepper, julienned
1 cup carrots, julienned
1 cup English cucumber, julienned
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup minced cilantro

Combine first six ingredients in a medium bowl; stir until smooth.  If the peanut sauce seems a little on the thick side, add a little more hot water.  Spread peanut sauce on tortilla, top each tortilla with sliced chicken, red bell pepper, carrots, cucumber, green onions, and cilantro.  Roll up and eat.

*The recipe for the peanut sauce is doubled because I like to have a little extra sauce to dip my wrap in and any extra veggies.
*I like to use smaller tortillas and eat them like a street taco.

Recipe Adapted from My Recipes

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bran Muffins with Maple Butter

The warmth from the spices combined with the maple butter melting into the warm muffin makes these bran muffins extra special.

Bran Muffins

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons buttermilk
1 1/2 cup wheat bran

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.  Whisk flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices together in medium bowl; set aside.

Cream butter with mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add brown sugar, increase speed to medium-high, and beat until combined and fluffy, about 1 minute longer.  Add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly before adding the next.  Beat in vanilla, molasses, and sour cream until thoroughly combined and creamy, about 1 minute longer.  Reduce speed to low; beat in buttermilk and half the flour mixture until combined, about 1 minute.  Beat in remaining flour mixture until incorporated and slightly curdled looking, about 1 minute longer, scraping sides of bowl as necessary.  Stir in wheat bran.

Spray 12-cup muffin tin with vegetable cooking spray or coat lightly with butter.  Divide batter evenly among cups.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into center withdraws cleanly or with a few moist particles adhering to it, about 25 minutes.  Set on wire rack to cook slightly, about 5 minutes.  Remove muffins from tin and serve warm.

Recipe from The Best Recipe Cookbook

Maple Butter

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

In a small bowl combine softened butter and maple syrup.  Stir until combined and smooth.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Chili-Lime Potato Nachos

These nachos are really tasty and everyone eating was happy!

Chili-Lime Potato Nachos

6 large baking potatoes, cut into 8 wedges
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups shredded Colby jack cheese
3 green onions, thinly sliced and ends trimmed
Sour Cream
Pico De Gallo
Homemade Ranch dressing

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine the olive oil, egg white, chili powder, paprika, salt and lime juice in a small mixing bowl and whisk until completely combined.  Toss with the potatoes, ensure to evenly coat them, and spread the potatoes out in a single layer on a well-oiled baking sheet.  Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown with a crispy exterior.

Remove from oven and cover with cheese, black beans and green onions.  Place the pan back in the oven for 5 minutes, or until cheese has thoroughly melted.

Garnish nachos with sour cream, guacamole, Pico de Gallo and ranch dressing.

*My potatoes were very large and so I only used four potatoes.

Recipe slightly adapted from Family Bites

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

I made a big pot of this soup right before I went to Hawaii to visit my sister Stephanie.  I knew it would provide a couple of meals that would be easy for my husband while I was away.  This soup is definitely a soup that I will be making many times in the future.  

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

1 box (4.3-ounces) Rice-o-Roni's Long Grain and Wild Rice Original
1 1/4 cup water
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 cup cream
3 cups chicken broth
3 cups cooked chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Combine water, rice and seasoning packet in a baking dish.  Bake for 45 minutes or until rice is tender.

In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat and sauté veggies until tender.  Add flour in small amounts to the vegetables to avoid clumps.  Cook vegetable flour mixture for a couple of minutes, stirring often.

To the pot, slowly add the chicken broth and bouillon cube, stir to combine.  Add cream, chicken, and rice and mix until everything is incorporated.  Season with salt and pepper.  Eat and enjoy!

Adapted slightly from jackattack06 blog

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Broiled Tilapia with Thai Coconut-Curry Sauce

I love the flavors in this dish!

Broiled Tilapia with Thai Coconut-Curry Sauce

1 teaspoon dark sesame oil, divided
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped green onions
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons red curry paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
4 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
1 tablespoons fresh cilantro
4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
Cooking spray
Limes wedges

Preheat broiler.

Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add ginger and garlic; cook 1 minute.  Add pepper and onions; cook 1 minute.  Stir in curry powder, curry paste, and cumin; cook 1 minute.  Add soy sauce, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and coconut milk; bring to a simmer (do not boil).  Remove from heat; stir in cilantro.

Brush fish with 1/2 teaspoon oil; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Place fish on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Broil 7 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.  Serve fish with sauce, jasmine rice, and lime wedges.

Recipe from Cooking Light