Friday, July 31, 2009

Kiwi Sorbet

This is an awesome dessert that you should definitely try. Everyone raved about it while they ate it. It is SO simple!

Here is what you need....

12 kiwis (ripe)

1 cup of sugar (less if you like sorbets a little tarter)

a blender or food processer

an ice cream freezer

Peel the kiwis and blend them with the sugar. Pour into your ice cream freezer and freeze for about 45 minutes or until icy. Scoop into covered freezer dishes and freeze for an hour or so. Enjoy!

Monday, July 27, 2009

More Free Cupcake Wrappers

I had so much fun making cupcakes to match my themes that I've made a few more printable cupcake wrappers. I thought I'd share them with you all. Click on them and they will open to full page size so you can save them to your desktop. Enjoy!!!

Pretty Cupcake Wrappers

Girly or Springtime Cupcake Wrappers

Superbowl Party Cupcake Wrappers

4th of July Cupcake Wrappers
Patriotic Color WhirlsPatriotic Color Whirls
30' Outdoor Patriotic Pennant Banner30' Outdoor Patriotic Pennant Banner

Plastic Printed Patriotic Border RollPlastic Printed Patriotic Border Roll

Red, White & Blue Crepe StreamerRed, White & Blue Crepe Streamer
Love these!
Tag Firecracker Candles, Set of 4, Red White and Blue, 2.875-Inches HighTag Firecracker Candles, Set of 4, Red White and Blue, 2.875-Inches High
Patriotic Paper Cups - 9oz. - Package of 25Patriotic Paper Cups - 9oz. - Package of 25

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Salsa Roja!

To be honest with you, I'm not much of a salsa lover. It is okay and I do eat it, but it's just okay to me. My husband, however, has some almost every day. He LOVES it... and the hotter, the better.

So, I went to Tastespotting and found one that looked like the ones he seems to love. Very dark and very smooth. One Particular Kitchen is the name of the blog where I found it. Oh... this girl and her cousin KNOW their salsas. Everyone has loved it who has had it. It started out SUPER hot the first day, but it mellowed nicely the next day. Still really spicy, but I could eat it. The heat is strong and then mellows after a few seconds. You'll love it... I know because it won me over!

I got permission from oneparticularkitchen (sorry, I don't know your name!) to post their recipe and after you get this recipe, run over to her blog and check out some of the other yummy food she has posted!

The Best Salsa Ever:
16 full size tomatoes, or nearly a produce bag full of roma tomatoes (we used roma)
2-3 yellow onions
20-25 Serrano peppers (remove caps) Note: this many peppers makes it hot. Feel free to reduce # of peppers, or scrape the seeds out of them
8-10 cloves of garlic
1-2 Tbsp salt
1-2 bunches cilantro

Half the tomatoes and onions and lay cut-side up on a cookie sheet along with the peppers and garlic.

Roast at 375 till the onions look nice and translucent and tomatoes look soft, and peppers are getting a nice char on them

Let it all cool a bit, then run through the food processor with salt and cilantro (we had to do this in two batches)

Stir it all together and eat with abandon.

If you have any questions about this salsa, be sure to go read the comments because her cousin answers a ton of them (like storing and freezing, etc.) Her pictures are much nicer than mine, so you may want to just go check them out for yourself!
Let me know if you made it and how you liked it!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Greek Chocolate Frozen Yogurt

On Monday I decided frozen yogurt is something we always buy at the store, but that I should try to make at home. I found a nice basic recipe in Cook's Magazine that I really liked the looks of. The boys wanted me to make strawberry. I hate strawberries that are frozen in ice cream. I know. Sorry. But I don't like them all icy like that. I decided to be a little selfish and tell them that we could try the chocolate because we didn't have any strawberries. We'd get strawberries to try next.

Now, I'm a big fan of Greek yogurt, so I had that in the fridge and I figured it would be the same. Especially since the first step of the recipe had you strain the 8-oz of plain yogurt. I had 6 oz of Greek yogurt which is already strained, so I used it instead.

Let me just say... The chocolate and the bitterness of the Greek yogurt really complimented each other. It turned out tasting a lot like dark chocolate which is my FAVORITE! YUM! Too bad it is my husband's favorite too because he has eaten most of the frozen yogurt and I've only had a spoonful. That's okay though. My backside doesn't need it.

Without further ado, here is the recipe as I made it. I've made a few substitutions and it turned out wonderfully. I wish I had had the camera time marker on so you could see that the BEFORE and AFTER pictures were taken about 2 minutes apart!
Greek Chocolate Frozen Yogurt

2 6oz containters of 0% Greek Yogurt
2 tsp unflavored gelatin
1/4 c. 2% milk
1/2 c. whipping cream
1 c. 2% milk
1 cup sugar
6 Tablespoons dutch-process cocoa (I used Hershey's)
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 c. milk in a small bowl. Let stand, stirring frequently until gelatin swells about 10 minutes.

2. Heat remaining milk, cream and sugar and cocoa in a small saucepan, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Do no boil. Remove pan from heat and add swelled gelatin, stirring until completely dissolved.

3. Cool milk to room temp. Add 1 tsp vanilla extract and mix in yogurt. Refrigerate mixture until cool to at least 40 degrees. Pour chilled gelatinous mixture into canister of ice cream machine. Churn until frozen. Can be served as soft frozen yogurt at this point, or can be stored in a sealed plastic container for two days before it becomes icy.
And this is the picture taken two minutes later. YUM!

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Homemade Challenge- Bagels

Okay. I'm NEVER going to buy bagels at the store again. I swear! OMG... they are soooo good homemade! Check these out!

Here is where I got the recipe and this recipe is perfect! If you would like a pictoral walkthough of the process, you have to go to Thibeault's Table. Ann's blog is great and has MANY great recipes. Otherwise, the recipe is now posted below.
Thibeault's Table <----------Click here! If you make them, let me know. I really want to hear how they turned out for you!

Source: Hors d'oeuvres Cook Book and notes from Thibeault's Table...

I have typed it exactly as the recipe is printed in the book. If you have a bread machine or Kitchenaide by all means use it to do most of the kneading. I always like to finish the kneading by hand. You can also make these into normal size bagels. I have used this recipe for over 20 years. I have tried other recipes but this is my favourite one.

2 cups warm water
2 packages active dry yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
about 5 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, unsifted
3 quarts water with 1 tablespoon of sugar
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
about 2 tablespoons poppy or sesame seeds.

Stir together water and yeast in large bowl of electric mixer; let stand 5 minutes to soften yeast. Stir in the sugar and salt. Gradually mix in 4 cups of the flour and beat at medium speed for 5 minutes. With a spoon, stir in about 1 1/4 cups more flour to make a stiff dough. Turn out on a floured board and knead until smooth, elastic, and no longer sticky, (about 15 minutes); add more flour as needed to prevent sticking - dough should be firmer than for most other yeast breads. Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled ( about 40 minutes to 1 hour).

Punch dough down and divide into thirds.

Set 2/3 of dough aside on a floured board; cover with clear plastic. Form remaining 1/3 dough in a log and cut into 16 equal pieces. To shape, knead each piece into small ball and poke thumbs through centre. With one thumb in hole (hole should be at least 1/2 inch) work fingers around perimeter, shaping ball into a small donut- like shape about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place bagels on a floured board or tray and let stand 20 minutes.

Bring water-sugar mixture to a boil in a 4 to 5 quart pan; adjust heat to keep it boiling gently. Lightly grease a baking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal. Lift bagels carefully and drop into water (about 6 at a time) boil gently for 1 minute turning only once (30 seconds each side). Lift out with slotted spoon and drain very briefly on paper towels, and place on baking sheet. Brush with 1/3 of the egg yolk glaze, sprinkle with seeds and bake in a 400° oven for 20 minutes oruntil richly browned. cool on racks. Repeat with remaining 2/3 dough (you may need to punch it down before shaping,) working with 1/3 at a time. Makes 48 cocktail size bagels, or 12 to 18 larger bagels.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Homemade Challenge - Butter and Cornbread

This week I've challenged myself to make some of the things at home that we generally buy at the store. It has been an interesting week so far. Being a stay-at-home-mom, I have the time to do these things, but other people may believe they don't because they work. You might be surprised! I couldn't believe how quickly these things whipped up and how quickly they disappeared from the dishes!

In order to find recipes that I wanted to make, I pulled out my old Cook's Illustrated Magazines. I just love them and reference them all the time. You really should pick one up if you haven't. They have them at WalMart now and although they seem thin and they don't have a lot of color photos, you will find them invaluable as a reference...even for a more experienced cook.... but especially for those just beginning. The best part is that they do experiments and try to figure out the best way to make the recipe turn out so that you don't have to! And there are tons of great tips.

Monday the kids and I sat down with the Cook's Mags and started looking through them. I let the kids pick something they would like to make (not necessarily something you would buy at the store). Surprisingly, V. chose frozen yogurt. I thought that was a great "something you would buy", so we chose to make that on Tuesday. We actually had all of the ingredients for chocolate and we decided that on Wednesday we'd make strawberry frozen yogurt since we could pick up the strawberries on Tuesday. Graham picked Gnocchi. I made that Monday night with some Tuscan Bean Soup and baked whole wheat bread. {Lots of stuff to blog about!}

Today (Wednesday) we chose to make homemade butter and buttermilk. I looked up a recipe to try on Since I would have buttermilk, I decided to get the other stuff to make cornbread and found that I actually had everything on-hand.
I'm going to post the recipes for the frozen yogurt later. I just made the butter, buttermilk and cornbread and while it is still in our tummies and on our tongues, I thought I'd post about that right now. Besides, it seems more interesting.

This is the recipe I used for the butter (Epicurious, April 2008)

Butter and Buttermilk

6 cups heavy cream, preferably organic (I used regular)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (I didn't have fine sea salt, so I used regular tablesalt)

Special equipment: Special equipment: 5-quart stand mixer (or larger)

Transfer cream to bowl of 5-quart electric stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Tightly cover top of bowl and mixer with plastic wrap. Beat cream at moderately high speed until it holds soft peaks, 10 to 12 minutes. Increase speed to high and beat until mixture separates into thick, pale-yellow butter and thin, liquid buttermilk, about 5 minutes more.

Strain mixture through colander into large bowl. Using hands, vigorously knead butter in colander, squeezing out remaining buttermilk, until dense and creamy, about 5 minutes. Transfer butter to large bowl, reserving buttermilk. Using hands, knead salt into butter. Roll into logs and wrap in plastic wrap or transfer to airtight container and refrigerate. (Butter will keep up to 1 week refrigerated or 1 month frozen.) Strain buttermilk through fine-mesh sieve, then cover and refrigerate up to 1 week.

It was SOOO easy. I have never made it before and it was not a problem at all. Once the buttermilk and the butter separated, it did start splashing, but the splash guard you make out of plastic wrap, helps with this. So, make sure you do that step or you may have a mess on your hands. I took two pieces of plastic wrap and put one on each side of the whisk. Like this.

This is how it looked after about 10 minutes. You can tell the whipping cream is starting to clump and it doesn't look like whipped cream anymore.

After about 15 minutes (5 minutes at level 1o on the mixer)
It looks a little like scrambled eggs.

After 20 minutes of mixing the butter separated and stuck in the whisk (below) and the buttermilk started splashing. This is when you stop it.

Look how pretty that yellow butter is! And this is the buttermilk in my Grandmother's Tang pitcher. Plenty for several batches of pancakes or cornbread.

This is what it looked like before I squeezed the buttermilk out of it.

And here it is in a crock that I had on-hand, beside some maple syrup we used for the cornbread. YUM!

Now that I had fresh buttermilk, I wanted to make some cornbread. I pulled the recipe from Cook's and we made it up. The boys both ate seconds (which is rare for them. They are only- eat-when-you-are-hungry kids).

Click on the picture for a close-up of the recipe.
I used a 8-in round springform pan to make this and it worked out just fine. I also cooked it on convect at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. It was done already, so be sure to check it after 18 minutes or so.

Very tasty with the fresh butter and real maple syrup!
Thursday we're going to make homemade pretzels. We buy those frozen ones for convenience, but how hard can it be? We'll see and I'm sure I'll blog about it. I'm not sure what Friday will bring, but I will be sure to give the details of the frozen yogurt tomorrow.
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