Friday, May 27, 2011

Freezer Fruit Cobbler

Honestly, we all want REALLY easy recipes nowadays and this one will is so easy and satisfying that you will probably slap your forehead, so prepare in advance.

My mother-in-law gave me this recipe book and as I looked through it, I knew I had to make this. It can't be more simple and delicious.

The recipe is called "Freezer Fruit Cobbler" and the book is called, "Simple, Fresh and Healthy" by Linda Hafner. It just takes a few minutes to put together, but it tastes like you spent hours on it.

Frozen berries....not defrosted!

Sprinkled with the flour mixture....

Topped with the dough...

Into my belly!

4C frozen fruit (I used blueberries and raspberries)
1/2 C sugar
2 TBL cornstarch

4 oz butter, softened
3/4 C sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 325.

Scatter the fruit in an 8x8 baking dish. Combine sugar and cornstarch and sprinkle over fruit.

To prepare crust, combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda in a small bowl and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the butter and sugar. Stir in egg. Gradually add the flour mixture. The batter will seem quite stiff.

Drop the batter, one spoonful at a time, over the top of the fruit. The batter will settle into the fruit as it bakes.

Transfer the cobbler to the oven and bake for 60 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and cooked through.

Yummy goodness.....

Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings me. This recipe is SO incredibly delectable.................delicious..............yummy.............satisfying................oooohy......yummy (wait, I said that).
Honestly, I had an idea that I might like this but MUST make this recipe! It is a Food Network recipe - I get nothing if you make this....except for the joy of knowing how much you're going to love it!

I saw this recipe in a Food Network Magazine and thought how great it would be, because I could use Ina's Ricotta recipe (listed here on my blog.....) and my own Marinara recipe ( "Marinara me"). Lee just about lost his mind over this (he loves anything with my marinara.....but these dumplings are amazing).

My pictures don't do justice to how great it was, but I'll post anyway.

Please do yourself a favor and make Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings.

Ina's home made ricotta and spinach....

Mixed together...

Coating the dumplings with flour...

I use a small ice cream scoop for uniform size.

mmmmmm.....yummy goodness.

Here's the link for the Food Network recipe:

Yummy Ricotta Dumpling recipe (click here)
When I made this, I made the ricotta and the marinara from scratch ( it is just better that way.......) and both recipes are here on my blog. Let me know if you make this!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tilapia Masala with Rice

If I could force you to make this recipe, I would. I did not expect it to be as delicious as it was so I DIDN'T TAKE ANY PICTURES. However, you can see the professional picture that I found in the magazine, below. 
The recipe calls for Basmati rice, which I love but didn't have any on hand. Instead I used Trader Joes Frozen Rice Medley (Brown, Red Rice with Black Barley - deliciously nutty and so nutritious!) and all I had to do was heat the peas in the microwave for a couple of minutes, heat the rice according to the directions, and combine them ~ Easy!  Also, I find that Tilapia can be "fishy" sometimes, so I used Trader Joe's "White Ruffy" (which is really Orange Roughy that comes frozen, in an orange bag. It is the ONLY frozen fish I will eat because it is always perfectly delicious).
Otherwise, I made it exactly as the recipe says and it was soooooooooooooooooo good.

Tilapia Masala with Rice

1 C basmati rice, rinsed
kosher salt
1/2 C frozen peas
3/4 C plain yogurt
1 small clove garlic, chopped
1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
1 TBL fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 6 oz tilapia fillets
2 TBL unsalted butter, melted
1 TBL chopped fresh cilantro or mint (I did 1/2 and 1/2 of both!)

1. Bring rice 1 1/3 C water and 1/4 tsp salt to a simmer in a soucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the peas; cover and set aside.

2. Puree 1/2 C yogurt, the garlic, ginger, lime juice, cumin, cayenne, 3/4 tsp salt in a food processor. Transfer all but 3 TBL of the mixture to a large bowl. Pierce the fish a few times with a fork and season with salt; add to the bowl and toss. Marinate for 15 minutes.

3. Preheat the broiler. Place the fish on a broiler pan; top with the marinade and butter. Broil until opaque, 6-8 minutes. Mix the remaining 1/4 C yogurt, cilantro, and salt to taste with the yogurt mixture. Serve the fish and rice with the yogurt sauce and lime wedges.

Click here to see the recipe online.

Salad Time!

When the weather gets warmer, I think we all look for cooler and lighter things to eat. Lee loves it when I have a few "ready to eat" salads in the fridge that he can munch on during the day. I found this one from a magazine his parents gave me. It comes from a chain of food stores called Wegman's. This must be an east-coast thing because I'm a SoCal girl and I've never heard of Wegman's, but it sounds to me it's a lot like Whole Foods Stores which I think is great.

I made this a couple of hours ago and we've managed to eat our way through most of it.!!!! Enjoy~

Red Quinoa-Avocado Salad

1 7oz pkg Red Quinoa, cooked according to pkg directions, and cooled (I couldn't find red quinoa so I used regular quinoa)
1 pkg frozen corn, thawed
1 C finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 C green onions, thinly sliced on the bias
2 plum tomatoes, 1/4 inch dice (about 1 C)
2 avocados, peeled, pitted and cubed
1/2 C lemon vinaigrette (recipe to follow)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Add cooked quinoa, corn, cilantro, green onion,and tomatoes to a mixing bowl. Fold in avocado and dressing. Mix until combined and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Click here for the Wegman's recipe online!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Reggie Burrell's Perfect Cake Recipe

Long, long ago, in a city called Huntington Beach, there was a dinner theater called "Tibbie's Music Hall", which had a group of young performers called the "Young Americans" who would serve dinner and then do a show......twice a night!  It seems like just the other day that I worked there, but it was in the early 1980's (I'm not good with exact dates). One of those singers is Reggie Burrell. After Tibbies, Reggie went on to sing with Gladys Knight for many years, as well as traveling all over the world doing shows as a solo artist.

One of Reggie's hobbies, was cake making. OH....the cakes he would make. His decorating skills were spectacular! I mean, he was as good as it gets (still is) with his piping skills. (I have yet to master cake decorating, so I stick to the basics).

Here's a picture of Reggie and I from Tibbies (We are smack dab in the middle - Reggie is on my right).

Fast forward to the present. I have always been searching for a "go to" cake recipe and got this from Reggie. I have made it a couple of times now and it always turns out perfectly. I got the frosting from I'll post that link a bit later.

Reggie's Favorite Cake

Pre-heat oven to 350

Prepare 2 nine-inch cake pans with butter and flour. (I like to use parchment paper for easy removal! - put a little butter on the bottom of the pan so the paper round will stick, then butter the whole pan and flour, shaking out excess).

2 sticks of butter, softened to room temperature
2 C sugar
4 eggs (for white cake, omit yolks and add 2 TBL vegetable oil)
3 C flour (I used cake flour - be sure to read instructions on box for measuring changes)
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 C milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon or almond extract (optional)

In a mixing bowl, whip butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Mix dry ingredients together, and add alternately with milk to butter mixture, starting and ending with flour.
Add vanilla and flavors.
Pour into prepared cake pans and bake for 45-50 minutes or until tooth pick inserted into cake comes out dry.
Cool completely on racks.

Make sure the butter is really soft!

Into the baking pan!

Here's the deeeelicious frosting recipe! Click here for the frosting link!

1 (8 oz) pkg of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 C white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 C heavy cream

Combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and almond extract in a large mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Then fit the mixer with the whisk attachment, and mix on medium until smooth. While the mixture is still whipping, slowly pour in the heavy cream. Stop and scrape the bowl a couple of times and continue whipping until the cream can hold a stiff peak.

Delicious results!! Thank you Reggie!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Herb Soup with Crab

"It's the herbs, Herb"! 
If you remember that quote, then my virtual hat is off to you because no one I know remembers it. Apparently, neither does Google because I just did a search for it and I stumped Google!  ha!

There was a commercial, for some canned or jarred spaghetti sauce, when I was a kid. In it, the momma serves up a plate to her poppa and he says, "Why does this sauce taste so good"??!!  She says, "It's the herbs, Herb"!  At least, that's the way I remember it. I could be totally wrong on this one, but Google can't prove it so I guess you'll have to believe me. 

The recipe I'm going to post doesn't have anything to do with pasta or sauce (if you are looking for a great Marinara, look at my "Marinara Me" post). It is a recipe I found inside Food Network Magazine. I expected it to taste good.....but it was "surprisingly delicious" (yet another catch-phrase I remember from my youth, but can't find on Google). 

Why does this soup taste so good?  IT'S THE HERBS.

This soup is very filling and satisfying... Enjoy.

Herb Soup with Crab

8 oz lump crabmeat, picked over
1 C chopped mixed herbs (such as parsley, chervil, and/or basil)
1 lemon (the zest and the juice)
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 TBL good olive oil
6 slices white bread, cubed
4 TBL unsalted butter
1 bunch leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped
3/4 lb yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 medium bulb fennel, cored and chopped
1/2 C dry white wine
1/2 C heavy cream

1. Toss the crab, 2 TBL herbs, half of the lemon zest and juice, plus salt and pepper to taste in a bowl; cover and refrigerate. Whisk the remaining lemon zest and juice with the olive oil in a separate bowl. Toss 1 TBL of the lemon oil with the bread cubes; season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 TBL butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the bread cubes until golden, about 7 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
NOTE: Instead of sliced bread, I used a very soft, fresh baguette.

The crab, lemon and herb mixture.

Say it with me, "mmmm. Croutons".

2. Heat the remaining 2 TBL butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook until wilted; about 5 minutes.  Add the potatoes and fennel and cook, about 7 minutes.
Stir in the wine, 2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper; cook 2 more minutes.  Add 5 C water and 1/2 C of the herbs. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
NOTE: I used small white potatoes because they are just as yummy and not as expensive as yukons. I did not peel them either!

The soup, before blending. You could eat it just like this and it would be great!

3. Puree the soup in a blender in batches. Return to the pot, add the cream and simmer until thick, about 5 minutes.  Add the remaining herbs, season with salt and pepper.  Ladle the soup into bowls, and top with the crab, croutons and drizzle with remaining lemon oil.
NOTE: I use my Immersion Blender for this instead of the blender - SO EASY!
AND....I didn't use heavy cream. Instead I like to use 1/2 & 1/2. I like a bit thinner consistency for creamed soups, not to mention easing up on the fat grams!

I love my immersion blender.

Blended, and cream added.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Buttermilk Creams with Strawberries

Originally, I wasn't planning on making this for the blog, but they turned out so well, that I decided to take a picture and share it with you.

This recipe is truly easy - although a bit time consuming, so if you're in a hurry you'd better wait on this one.  It's perfect for warm weather dessert making though, because there's no baking!

Again, I don't take credit for this recipe. The credit belongs to Martha and her staff.  Here's the link - there's even a video!
Martha's HEAVENLY Buttermilk Creams with Fresh Strawberries

The texture is divine - mostly like a custard but even lighter because of the whipped cream. The taste is like ice cream with just a slight zing from the buttermilk. 

Lee's quote when he tasted it was, ""

Here's my picture:

The only change I made was to add a touch of lemon zest on top.

1 1/4 tsp unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4 oz packet)
3/4 C sugar
1 C low-fat buttermilk
1 1/2 C heavy cream
1 pound strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1. In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over 3 TBL of water. Let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Heat over low, stirring until gelatin has dissolved, about 30 seconds.

2. In a large bowl, whisk 1/4 C sugar with buttermilk until dissolved. Whisking constantly, add gelatin mixture in a very thin stream. In another large bowl, beat cream and 1/4 C sugar until soft peaks form.

3. With a rubber spatula, gently stir half of the whipped cream into buttermilk mixture; fold in remaining whipped cream. Divide among eight, 6-oz ramekins. Refrigerate until set, at least 6 hours (or up to 1 day, covered with plastic wrap).

4. When ready to serve, toss strawberries with 1/4 C sugar, lemon juice and 1 TBL water. Let stand until juicy, about 5 minutes. Run a paring knife around edge of each ramekin and dip each briefly in steaming hot water; invert onto servings plates and top with strawberries (and some grated lemon zest!).