Sunday, February 12, 2012

Baked Mozzarella Sticks


Melted cheese is my weakness...next to chocolate of course.  Ever had brie, topped with apricot preserves wrapped in puffed pastry, and baked till golden and gooey. * I might be drooling right now.*


I traditionally stay away from fried foods, not because I dont enjoy them but merely because of the health factor.  Occasionally, I give in and indulge.  Like when you eye the deep-fried oreos and three muskateers bar at the fair.  Absolutely delicious yet entirely a heart attack waiting to happen.  On the cheese front, Mozzarella sticks are usually the one thing that I never crave.  The pre-made, frozen sticks usually have an overly processed, too much breading, and entirely too greasy characteristic about them.

However,  these mozzarella sticks are made from scratch with italian and panko bread crumbs and baked about 7 minutes till golden and melted. These puppies passed the taste test when I served them at a Superbowl party. Luckily, this recipe made a ton so I had plenty to freeze and heat up on the whim at a later date.

This is a must try!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Chocolate Eclair Cake



This is one of those recipes that I have seen flooding foodie sites and boards so I thought I should give it a try. Since it doesn't require baking and the ingredients are extremely simple, this was either going to turn out amazing or terrible.  I had used French Vanilla instant pudding to make a  faux custard concoction before but I was weary on its consistency to uphold a cake. I was correct in my assumption...until day 2.

This picture doesn't do the recipe justice, the cake is ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS.  It just looks like a spoonful of mushy pudding should you try to eat it the same day it was made.  Purely for experimentation purposes, I felt that I should try the cake each day to see the results over a  period of time. Lets break it down:

Day 1 - 4-5 hrs after assembly, serving looks terrible, semi-soft graham cracker, delicious pudding, amazing chocolate topping that turns to liquid and pools in the baking dish. Overall, delicious tasting.

Day 1 - 6-8 hrs after assembly, second helping (again, all for testing purposes so don't be so judgmental) chocolate pool getting larger from topping runoff but still tastes delicious.  Pudding not withholding the graham crackers to stand along on a plate.

Day 2 & 3- Graham crackers are soft middle layers with thick custard consistency. Chocolate sauce is still tasty but needs to be spooned on cake.  Overall AMAZING and finally looks like the recipe picture.

In conclusion, to get the picturesque chocolate eclair cake, I would double the chocolate topping (which I will do in the recipe measurements below) and let the cake sit at least 24 hrs.  It might be tough but you will love the results!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tapas



I may not speak Spanish but when it comes to international dishes, I am pretty fluent in speaking "food". That is to say, I could not tell you what tapas means or where is originates from but I do know that it describes small plates of various dishes to be consumed while drinking massive amounts of alcohol over a few hours...probably derived from Spain.  I gathered the last tidbit of knowledge (whether true or not) because Fork2 was gracious enough to bestow a wonderful Tapas cookbook to me from her recent stint in Madrid.

Everything in this cookbook looks amazing.  How long would it really take me to whip several of these dishes? Between going to the grocery store, preparing the food and cooking everything, I was really looking forward to the drinking part of this meal.  Looking back, I think I was nuts to make this much food for two people (oh, did I leave that part out?) but they were fun to try.  This post will only cover two of the recipes made; however, the sauteed lemon mushrooms and the ham and goat cheese Empanadillas are definitely going to be shown soon.

The chorizo and garbanzo beans has lasted for several dinners worth but the cherry tomatoes stuffed with spinach dip will be on my snack list for a long time.  WOW, so refreshing and healthy... if you leave out the bad parts of the dip.  I would serve these puppies as an appetizer at any party.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chilled Soba Noodle Salad


Ever sleep so long that you just remain sleepy for the remainder of the day? Well, that's me today so it will be a short post.  I blame it on the Golden Globes last night.  My favorite win of the night was for the PBS Masterpiece Classic show, Downton Abbey.  PBS and Masterpiece Classic, yes I do feel like an old lady sometimes but this show is truly awesome.

But I digress in my quest for laziness. Onward to soba noodles...

Soba noodles are a japanese buckewheat pasta that can be served hot or cold.  I chose the cold version with a few favorite add-ins and  a sesame ginger dressing.  For a first attempt, this was a delicious, light lunch.  And since this makes a gigantic amount, I have plenty for a weeks worth of work lunches.  

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Layered Goat Cheese


Cheese...  I honestly do not think I could live without cheese in my daily diet, especially cream cheese.  No crackers are even necessary. So many cheese varieties and so many ways to stuff them in my mouth.  Cream cheese, cheddar cheese, blue, gorgonzola, brie, how about some Manchego dipped in orange blossom honey? I love them all. However,  I do reserve the right to turn away from a highly pungent, turn-the-fridge-to-fart-smell, cheese.  You know what Im talking about.

So now lets talk goat cheese.  So creamy, mild, and pairs well with about everything.  At a recent holiday party, this layered cheese was served as an appetizer with crackers and Serano Ham.  In my usual manner, I ate about half of it myself then preceded to figure out how the dish was made.  Fast forward 2 weeks to dinner with my family, this layered goat cheese, 5 minutes and it was gone.  Yes, it's that good.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Years Luck


Happy 2012!  After celebrating all the holidays and consuming massive quantities of delicious dishes, I can honestly say that my stretchy pants have never gotten so much use.  Today is no different. After a family New Years meal consisting of three varieties of chicken tetrazzini, a strawberry salad that Mr. F loved, and 4-5 different types of desserts, I AM FULL!  Did I mention there were homemade chocolate eclairs filled with a mocha custard?  So 2012 isn't off to a bad start, not bad at all. 

Black eyed peas and collard greens are a New Years staple that supposedly bring good luck.  I can't really back up the collards statement. Moreover, I think its because the greens are in massive supply this time of year so the grocery stores push them.  Years ago, I found this recipe that incorporates collard greens, black eyed peas, and pork ribs slowed cooked together.  

For those on the fence for collard greens or if you think that black eyed peas take forever to cook, this dish is for you.  I would definitely call this a Sunday meal since it does take more than hour from start to finish but the end result is phenomenal.  Don't worry, in case you think the dish looks too healthy, it does contain bacon.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Raspberry Almond Thumbprints



Some people like to experiment with a recipe, I am not one of them.  I have a concept, idea, or recipe in my mind and I expect it to work the first time.   If at first I don't succeed with a recipe, it goes in the trash and I wont attempt it again.  This could be due to my creative process.  I get so excited over my fantastic idea that when it doesn't work, I move on to something I already know is phenomenal. I enjoy the baking and cooking process but if I spend hours making something, I want it to taste more than "okay."

Needless to say, when I was baking a new recipe for a cookie exchange at work and the result turned out flat-as-pancakes, I dumped the whole batch in the garbage and sought something new.  Utilizing the same raspberry lemon jam compote I had just made, I found this almond thumbprint recipe.  If these didn't work, I was first going to scream and then whip up some brownies. May I was just having an off day.

As you can see, these shortbread gems turned out pretty and delicious.  Thank goodness! Mr .F suggested store-bought cookies...store-bought!!! I do have a reputation to uphold at work. So if your looking for something easy or simply need a recipe for a cookie exchange, here it is. 

Hope you enjoy!
 
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