Friday, August 15, 2008
However, in September, my husband's schedule will be back to normal, and I'll be settled in my schedule, so look for tons of new, fresh, healthy, and delicious meals! I have kept a notepad with tons of ideas and classic dishes I want to make.
For now, I will be focusing on my other blog, www.ashisfit.blogspot.com. When I return to the kitchen, my recipes will often be very healthy, low calorie, and will contain the caloric breakdowns.
I hope everyone has a nice last few weeks of summer, and I'll see you at labor day :)
Posted by Ashlee at 8/15/2008 08:00:00 AM
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
For tonight's dinner, I wanted to use up a few things in the pantry. I always have onions, garlic, parmesan and pasta. I had a zucchini on hand from my dad's garden, so I figured I'd make a pasta dish with it. I grated the zucchini so it would cook faster and blend with the pasta better. I topped it with a veggie chik'n patty, but a nice parmesan chicken breast would be nice or even a grilled chicken breast.
Monday, August 11, 2008
I used this recipe for lemon verbena cake, I used Dorie's pastry cream recipe, halved, mixed with 1/2 c. fresh pureed strawberries, and my standard buttercream and fondant.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
This week was my week to choose the TWD recipe. I had the hardest time deciding what to choose! I wanted to please the group, as well as my husband, and myself!
I decided to make this cake because we haven’t made a loaf cake yet, and I have never made a marbled cake. When I first saw this cake, it reminded me of the marbled loaf cake at Starbucks, as well as the banana chocolate chip cake, one of my favorites!
I have remade a few of Dorie’s recipes to tweak it a bit, and that’s what I had to do this week! The first time I made it, the batter was too runny and the marbling didn’t stay intact (that’s the photo down below). Since it was my host week, I was determined to get it right, so I tried it again. The second time, I cut the nutmeg back for taste, used only 1 banana, ¼ c. milk, and added ¼ c. flour, used light butter, and omitted the granulated sugar and rum (because I could barely taste it in the first loaf). This time, the cake marbled beautifully and tasted even better!
I hope everyone enjoyed this cake as much as I did, though I wish it came out ‘right’ the first time, it was nice to be challenged a bit to get it right! I ate mine with some chocolate milk (JJ had vanilla) like Dorie recommended and it was a fantastic breakfast.
Black-and-White Banana Loaf
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 ½ ripe bananas, peeled
Squirt of fresh lemon juice
Grated zest of ½ lemon
1 tbsp. dark rum
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 stick plus 2 tbsp. room temperature butter
2/3 c. packed light brown sugar
1/3 c. sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ c. whole milk
Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter an 8 ½ x4 ½ x 2 ½ inch loaf pan on an insulated baking sheet.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
In another small bowl, mash the bananas with lemon juice, zest, then stir in the rum.
Melt the chocolate and 2 tbsp. butter together in a microwave or saucepan over simmering water.
Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter at medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugars and beat for 2-3 more minutes, until light and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla. The batter will look curdled, and it will continue to look curdled as you add ingredients. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the flour mixture, mixing only until it is just incorporated. With the mixer running, pour in the milk and when it is blended add the remaining dry ingredients.
Scrape down the bowl and mix in the mashed bananas. The batter will look even lumpier.
Pour a little less than half the batter into the bowl with melted chocolate and stir to blend. Drop alternating spoonfuls of both batters into prepared pan (or follow any of the marbling techniques on page. 229). Then, using a knife, swirl the batters taking care not to overdo it.
Bake for 1 hour and 20 – 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Check after 30 minutes, if the cake browns too much, cover loosely with a foil tent. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it cool for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan. Continue to cool on the rack.
Monday, August 4, 2008
To welcome the new first year grad students, and welcome back JJ's fellow 2nd year grad students, we threw a party! JJ and I love grilling, and we love tex-mex food, so I created a menu to incorporate our favorites! Almost everything was grilled - even the veggies in each dish!
My mom is a great hostess, and as far back as I can remember, when we had big parties she'd have me wrap up the silverware in the napkins, so it's much easier to carry with your food and drink.
Tex-Mex BBQ Menu:
Tortilla Chips with a dipper Trio (Guacamole, Grilled Pico de Gallo, Mango Tomatillo Salsa)
Chile Rubbed Steak
Mango Spiced Chicken
Southwest Spiced Rice
Grilled Corn Salad
Coconut Cream Pie
Key Lime Pie
Strawberry Kiwi Tart
12 ears of corn, grilled
1 red onion, grilled and diced
2 poblanos, grilled and diced
1 jalapeno, grilled and minced
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 tsp. honey
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and Pepper
Mix all ingredients, serve at room temperature
To make this tart, I used a basic tart shell with Dorie's Pastry Cream recipe. I filled it with fresh sliced Kiwi and Strawberries. It is beautiful and very tasty!
2 cups flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1 stick of cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 egg yolk
2-3 tbsp. ice water
½ tsp. salt
To make pastry, combine flour, sugar and butter ina food processor. Pulse until it resembles crumbles, add yolk and water, process until a soft dough forms, wrap in a ball in plastic, chill for an hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out dough and press it into a tart shell. Cover dough with aluminum foil. cover with pie weights and bake for 15 minutes.
2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits at room temperature
Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan.
Meanwhile, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the egg yolks together with the sugar and cornstarch until thick and well blended. Still whisking, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk-- this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won't curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the milk. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly and thoroughly (making sure to get the edges of the pot), bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat.Whisk in the vanilla extract. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are full incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky. Scrape the cream into a bowl. You can press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the cream to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the pastry cream until cold or, if you want to cool it quickly--as I always do--put the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water, and stir the pastry cream occasionally until it is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes.
For the graham cracker crust:
For the filling:
For dessert for the party, I decided to go with three fruity, summery desserts. I love coconut, and had some in the pantry, so I decided to try out a coconut cream pie. I went with Emeril's recipe because he's never given me a bad recipe! However, I made a graham cracker crust instead of a regular pie crust. It was delish!
Pour the filling into the prepared pie shell. Cover the pie with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Chill the pie completely, about 2 hours.
I decided to make spicy flank steak and chicken for the party. I used a caribbean marinade for the chicken - store bought - and marinaded it overnight. For the steak, JJ and I came up with a way to add spice to Penzey's mixture that was outstanding!
1 tsp. chile powder
4 c. quick cooking rice (brown or white)
3 1/2 c. chicken stock
2 poblanos, grilled and diced
1 15 oz. can petite diced tomatoes with green chiles
1/2 red onion, grilled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
Salt and Pepper
Mix all ingredients in a casserole dish, bake at 300 for 40 minutes.
I wanted to have a few dipper options for the party, keeping with the tex-mex bbq theme, so I did Guacamole, Pico de Gallo, and Mango Tomatillo Salsa.
I made my standard Guacamole and Mango Salsa, but I switched up the pico a bit by grilled the veggies.
2 lime, juiced
2 tsp. salt
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp. ground cumin
¼ cup grilled red onion, diced
2 tbsp. cilantro, minced
½ lime, juiced
1 jalapeno, grilled and minced
Salt and pepper
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Now my mom is a bit weird, and doesn’t eat poultry, but eats beef. I bought organic ground beef and made some delicious meatballs in a spicy red wine and fennel seed marinara. My key to maximum moistness is cooking them half way in a hot oven to form the outside shape, then simmering them in the sauce to retain the most moisture (because I use 96/4 fat content). I also stuffed them with a little bit of mozzarella (idea from Rachael Ray) and sun dried tomatoes, for a little extra flavor.
We’re big fans of anything spinach and artichoke, so I thought a spinach pasta ravioli with artichoke filling would be great. Then to get our veggies in, I made grilled eggplant, simply seasoned and grilled until tender. This meal was a bit time consuming, but it was fun to cook with and for my mom!
1 tbsp. EVOO
½ yellow onion, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. fennel seed
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
½ c. dry red wine
1 15 oz. can organic diced tomatoes
1 15 oz. can organic tomato sauce
1 6 oz. can organic tomato paste
10 torn basil leaves
In a saucepot over medium low, add EVOO, onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Sweat onions and garlic for 5 minutes. Turn heat to high, add red wine, reduce by half, turn to low, add spices and tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add torn basil right before serving.