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Archive for April, 2009

Lemon Lime Bars

I saw a recipe for a lime bar that looked really easy and yummy. I love all things tart so I really wanted to try it. I then thought if a lime bar is good I bet a lemon lime bar might be even better. Then I thought that it is Easter time and it might be fun to dye the different layers yellow and green. Then I thought, and here’s where I went wrong, that it would be even prettier if I sprinkled it with powdered sugar and pink sugar crystals. Well the bars were delicious, the yellow and green layers were fun but the powdered sugar and pink sugar crystals were a total failure. When I first covered the bars it looked pretty but an hour later when I looked at them again the powdered sugar had all dissolved into the lime mixture and just left the pink crystals laying there looking pretty bad and sorta gross. Don’t worry I still ate them. So here they are. Give them a try, just leave off the topping (in fact I’m not even going to mention it in the recipe).

lemon lime bars

Lemon Lime Bars
adapted from Evil Shenanigans

1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (best when prepared in a food processor)
6 tablespoons salted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
zest of one lime
2 large egg yolks
1-14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk separated into 2 7oz portions
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
green and yellow food coloring

Preheat the oven to 350F and spray an 8″ square pan with butter flavored cooking spray. Line it with parchment paper that hangs over the edge of the pan by a few inches (so you can remove the bars from the pan more easily).

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar, and zest. Press into the prepared pan, pressing the crust mixture one inch up the side of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

Once the crust is cooled in one bowl combine the 1 egg yolk and 7oz condensed milk until well mixed. Stir in the lime juice and 10 drops of green food coloring and mix thoroughly. It will begin to thicken slightly. In another bowl repeat the process using the lemon juice and yellow food coloring.

Pour the green mixture into the crust, making sure the filling reaches the edges and then carefully pour the yellow mixture on top of the green. Bake for 15 minutes, or until just set.

Cool to room temperature, then chill for at least one hour, overnight is better. Pull the bars out of the pan using the parchment paper and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares with a serrated knife. To make cutting cleaner wipe the knife with a damp cloth between cuts.

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BLTEs

Well we all know that a BLT is a Bacon Lettuce, and Tomato sandwich. Now add an E to that and you get a Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, and Extraordinary or Egg sandwich. The combination of flavors in this sandwich is wonderful and the contrast between warm and cold ingredients is refreshing. When we are looking for something simple, comforting, and fresh we turn to the BLTE. This sandwich leaves itself open to various adaptations or additions but make sure you always use fresh quality ingredients and you won’t be disappointed.

blte 2

BLTE by Me
makes 1 sandwich

2 slices of good Italian bread cut 1/2″ thick
2 slices of cooked thick cut bacon
1 fried(in butter with salt and pepper to taste) egg
1 slice of tomato
1 lettuce leaf
mayonnaise

Spread mayonnaise on both slices of bread. On one piece of bread layer lettuce, tomato, egg and bacon and cover with the other slice of bread.

Open wide and take a bite. Enjoy!!!

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Crab Macaroni and Cheese

Saturday was turning out to be quite dreary and it was the last day of lent so I wanted something comforting but new and impressive for dinner that night. We had made it through lent without any meat but we still had one dinner to go. I had bought some crab meat about a week ago with the intention of making corn and crab bisque but that had not yet happened so when I came across a recipe for Crab Macaroni and Cheese that became “What’s For Dinner”. I had all the ingrediants except for some Fontina cheese. Unfortunately it did not appear that my local grocery store carried Fontina. However we did find Fontinella Cheese which we assumed had to be closely related but it turns out we were wrong. Since this turned out so delicious I guess that it didn’t matter that we were wrong, and since I still don’t know what it was suppose to taste like (I’m not sure what Fontina tastes like) I will pretend, and from now on state, that this was the perfect combination. Ed loved this! In the future I would lower the amount of liquid (maybe a 1/2 cup) as ours came out slightly soupy and I would love to add just a little Old Bay or maybe a bit of Sherry but this was an excellent recipe as is. Enjoy!!!

cab mac and cheese 2

Crab Macaroni and Cheese
adapted from Northwest Noshings who adapted it from Everyday Pasta by Giada De Laurentiis

12 ounces macaroni
1 ¾ cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream (I ran out of heavy cream so I used 1 1/2 cups heavy cream and 1/2 cup regular whipping cream)
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (packed) grated fontinella cheese
¾ cup cheddar cheese (I used a mix of white and sharp cheddar)
½ cup (packed) finely grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup (packed) grated mozzarella cheese (I used shredded)
¾ cup ricotta cheese
10 ounces Dungeness crab meat
4 TBSP breadcrumbs (I omitted)
2 TBSP unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces (I omitted)

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Spray a 9 x 13 x 2-inch glass baking dish with a butter flavored cooking spray.

Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes (I cooked them for about 7 minutes). Drain well (do not rinse).

Whisk the milk, cream, flour, salt, and pepper in a large bowl to blend. Stir in the fontina, cheddar, Parmesan, mozzarella, and ricotta cheeses. Add the macaroni and toss to coat. Fold in crab meat.

Transfer the macaroni mixture to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle breadcrumbs and place butter pieces on top of breadcrumbs.

Bake until the sauce bubbles and the cheese melts and begins to brown on top, about 15 minutes (It took ours closer to 25 minutes). Let stand for 10 minutes. Serve warm.

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Panko and Wasabi Encrusted Tuna

So tonight I had no idea what to do for dinner and it was after 7pm. Ed likes to eat by 7pm so this was not the best of circumstances. I did know that we would be having roasted green beans, as we had some of those to use up, but the rest of the meal was still a mystery. As I stood in the middle of the kitchen just looking around Ed reminded me that we had a lot of frozen fish in the freezer that we had not been using as frequently as he would have liked. Taking the hint I asked him what kind of fish he would like. His reply was the first one you grab. As it happened tuna was the closest at hand. When I made sushi bowls a while ago Ed came home with some Wasabi Sauce to use in the recipe. This was not near spicy enough for my tastes, I could eat a spoonful and not feel a thing, but it did have a very pleasant taste. I stood there and thought to myself “tuna and wasabi go very well together”. The question was how to keep the wasabi on the tuna while cooking. The answer…panko. This turned out surprisingly good. I thought that there wasn’t enough wasabi taste but Ed like the milder taste and raved about this meal. As I was eating I came up with many other ways to try and make this fish. 1. add powdered wasabi to beaten egg, coat, and dredge in panko. 2. sprinkle wasabi powder on tuna steaks directly and sear. 3.Coat in egg and add wasabi powder to the panko. Iam sure that there are still others. If you happen to try one of the other methods please let me know how it turned out. For now here is the process/recipe that I followed.

P.S. I served this with goat cheese and lemon infused quinoa.

panko and wasabi tuna

Panko and Wasabi Encrusted Tuna by Me

tuna steaks – we cooked 3
3/4 cup panko
1/3 cup Wasabi Sauce
olive oil for cooking

Coat tuna steaks in the wasabi sauce and then dredge (covering well) in panko.

Heat olive oil in a flat bottom pan. When hot add tuna steaks and cook for approx. 4 mins on each side and until coating is a nice medium brown.

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Dinner didn’t come out as well as I’d been hoping last night so I decided that we should make some cookies. Isn’t that what anyone would do? I had come across these White Chocolate and Lime cookies earlier in the day and they just kept calling to me. Partly because I love anything anything with lime in it and because they made me think of spring which I am anxiously awaiting. Well these didn’t bring about spring weather, as I am told it was actually snowing here today, but they were very tasty and Gabriel and I had fun making them. I didn’t change anything about the recipe. Next time however I will add a little more lime juice.

white chocolate and lime cookies

White Chocolate Lime Cookies from Evil Shenanigans
Yield 5 dozen cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 tablespoon lime zest
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 – 12 oz bag white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two sheet pans with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, sugar and butter until combined but not fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time, then add vanilla, lime juice and lime zest. Mix to combine.

Whisk together flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Mix into creamed mixture until just combined. Fold in the white chocolate chips.

Shape the dough into 1″ balls, and place 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the centers are just set. ** Mine took 15 mins but that is probably because I only got 46 cookies out of the dough instead of 60 so mine where a little larger than what this recipe calls for.**

Allow to sit on the pan for three minutes before moving to wire racks.

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General Tso’s Shrimp

For Christmas, about 5 years ago, my parents gave me an awesome wok. It was an electric, professional quality wok. I had wanted one for awhile and was so excited when I opened that present and had such grand plans for it. I used it for the first time TODAY! This was a long time coming but I can now guarantee you that it will not be such a long wait til the next time. Today I made myself proud! This was one of the easiest and most delicious things I have ever made. I have enjoyed General Tso’s from many a Chinese restaurant but this surpassed a lot of them. It was light, sweet, and spicy all at once. Ed was in heaven but I had one reason to be a little sad. I now had one more thing that I was afraid that I would no longer be able to order out because it was better at home. I am so excited to submit this to the Tasty Tools Wok event hosted by Joelen’s Culinary Adventures. Check it out.

general tso's shrimp 2

General Tso’s Shrimp
adapted from Blog Chef

1lb peeled and deveined shrimp with tails removed – we used 31-40 count
3 eggs beaten
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup wok oil
3 tbsp rice vinegar
4 tbsp sherry
6 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp soy sauce
4 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp crushed red pepper
2 scallions sliced with white and green parts separated

In a large bowl combine the cornstarch and beaten eggs. Mix well to create a batter. Add the shrimp and coat well.

In a small bowl combine rice vinegar, sherry, soy sauce, sugar, the white parts of the scallion, and cornstarch. Mix well and set aside.

Add oil to wok and heat to 375 degrees. Add shrimp to the wok in batches and cook untill shrimp are white. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. *Note – when frying the shrimp a lot of the batter fell off. I am not sure how to really correct this problem but we did not feel that it took anything away from the finished dish.

Add crushed red peppers to the oil remaining in the wok and stir fry for about 30 seconds. Return the shrimp to the wok and stir fry for a minute or two.

Add sauce mixture to the wok and stir until the sauce becomes thickened and coats the shrimp well. Garnish with the green parts of the scallions.

Serve with broccoli and white rice

Enjoy!!

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I seem to be on a little baking kick lately which is very unlike me. I think it probably has something to do with the fact that Gabriel now enjoys “helping” and it is something we can do together and it gives him such a sense of pride. Well my little sous chef and I rolled up our sleeves again last night and made Blondies. These are incredibly easy to make and allow you to be creative with the add-ins. This time we added white chocolate chips and cinnamon chips. These are so rich and yummy! I think I undercooked them just a bit and next time I might reduce the amount of butter just a bit but neither issue is going to stop me from eating these!! It also appears that I am the ONLY one to have any issues whatsoever with how they turned out. We’ll just see how many of these I actually get to eat. LOL I hope your family will enjoy these as much as mine is.
blondies

White Chocolate and Cinnamon Blondies
adapted from a Blondie recipe found at Joelen’s Culinary Adventures from 2005 America’s Test Kitchen Live! cookbook

1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted & cooled
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup cinnamon chips

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13 by 9 inch baking pan with two pieces of foil. Spray the foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

Whisk the melted butter and brown sugar together in a medium bowl until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined. Do not over mix. Fold in the morsels and the nuts and turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula.

Bake until the top is shiny and cracked and feels firm to the touch, about 22 to 25 minutes (it took me at least 30 mins.). Place the pan on a rack and cool completely. Cut into bars.

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