Tuesday, June 30, 2009

TWD- Perfect Party Cake

This week's recipe was chosen by mix, mix...stir, stir for Perfect Party Cake- a four layer lemon flavored cake filled with raspberry jam and lemon swiss meringue buttercream, topped with coconut. I changed mine up a little, omitting the lemon extract because I'm not a fan of strong lemon flavored desserts, skipping the raspberry jam and using fresh blueberries and raspberries, and skipping the coconut.This cake is really wonderful. The amount of lemon was just right for my tastes, and my husband proclaimed this to be his new favorite. Several people in the P&Q didn't have enough frosting, but mine turned out to be just right. The buttercream is one of the best I've had- so light and creamy. Even this girl couldn't get enough.
Head to Carol's blog for the recipe!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Soy Glazed Chicken Skewers

If you're female, you've probably been through (or are going through) a phase where you eat a lot of chicken. Come on, admit it- you know chicken breasts are low in fat and calories and provide a lot of protein- the perfect "diet" food, right? Honestly, when I was single, I used to just bake chicken breasts and eat them for dinner. Every. Single. Night.
It's versatile so you can put anything on it and pair it with anything and pretty much have a good meal. But you also know that chicken breasts are not super flavorful or moist. I started cooking with boneless chicken thighs as a way to get my husband to be more agreeable to eating chicken (why is chicken not a "guy" food??). The thighs are brown meat, so not low in fat, but SO much more moist and flavorful. This recipe for grilled chicken skewers is quick and tasty. I only used red bell peppers, but you could put any skewer-friendly vegetable on there (zucchini, squash, onions) and it would be fabulous. My kids and husband loved it, saying it had "restaurant flavor," a compliment from my husband to be sure since there's nothing he loves more than eating out!
Soy-Glazed Chicken Skewers
serves 4
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 T toasted sesame seed oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs, cut in 1/4 inch strips
1 red bell pepper, cut in 1 inch chunks
2 T sesame seeds, toasted
2 cups hot rice

Soak wooden skewers in water for 10 minutes.
Combine first three ingredients in a large bowl or resealable plastic bag. Add chicken and let sit 15 minutes. Remove chicken, reserving marinade. Pour marinade in a small pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until reduced to about 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, thread chicken and bell peppers on 8 wooden skewers. Cook on a grill sprayed with cooking spray for 4 minutes on each side, or until done, brushing with reserved marinade. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Serve immediately over hot rice.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sweet & Sour Tofu

I'm always looking for meatless recipes. Now that summer is here, we eat grilled meat several times a week because that means my husband cooks! Tofu is usually my go-to meat substitute because my kids won't eat very many vegetables. This Cooking Light recipe is quick and easy, and has a pretty authentic sweet & sour flavor. The recipe only serves two, so keep that in mind if you're cooking for a family. Served over hot white or brown rice, this is a great way to change up your routine!Sweet & Sour Tofu
adapted from from Cooking Light
1 pkg (12.3 oz) extrafirm tofu
1 t canola oil

1/4 t salt
, divided
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch strips

1 t fresh ginger, minced
3/4 c unsweetened pineapple juice, divided
1 t corn starch

2 T lemon juice
1 1/2 T low-sodium soy sauce
1 t sugar
1/4 t chili garlic sauce

2 T chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 c hot rice
Cut tofu into 6 pieces. Arrange tofu on a single layer on sev
eral layers of paper towels. Cover tofu with more paper towels; place a cutting board on top and let sit 15 minutes. Remove cutting board and paper towels. Cut tofu into 1/2-inch cubes.
Heat oil in nonstick skillet over med-high heat. Add tofu and sprinkle with1/8 t salt. Cook 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Transfer tofu to a plate. Add ginger and bell pepper to pan and saute 2 minutes until tender.
Combine 2 teaspoons pineapple juice and cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside. Add remaining juice to pan; stir in remaining salt, lemon juice, soy sauce, sugar and chili garlic sauce. Add cornstarch mixture; stir well. Bring to a boil and cook 1 minute. Return tofu to pan, stirring gently to coat. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Serve over hot r

Happy Father's Day to the fathers in my life!
My dad:

and my husband:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

TWD- Honey-Cherry Ice Cream

When we got married, one of the first things on our registery was a Cusinart ice cream maker- the one with the dual cannisters so you can make 2 quarts at once. It's been one of my favorite (and my husband's) gift. There's nothing like good homemade ice cream to celebrate summer.
This week's recipe for Honey-Peach Ice Cream wa
s chosen by Brown Interior. I'll admit that while I was excited to make ice cream, I wasn't excited about the honey part. Just about the only thing I like honey on is toast with peanut butter. But I decided that I should stick somewhat to the recipe. Since we didn't have peaches and I didn't plan far enough in advance to buy them in time for them to ripen, I used cherries.The cherries were boiled with honey until soft then pureed for the custard.The ice cream was pretty heavy on the honey flavor. I think if I ever made this again, I would cut way back on the honey. Or omit it completely because the custard mixture made the ice cream really creamy and rich.
Check out Tommi's blog for the recipe!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Luscious Chocolate Cake

Sorry if you came here looking for TWD's Honey Peach Ice Cream. I made this Martha Stewart chocolate cake last weekend for my mom's birthday instead. A moist chocolate cake covered in whipped ganache, this cake was wonderful!
Luscious Chocolate Cake
adapted from
The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook
Makes one 9-inch, 3-layer cake. Serves 8-10

1 cup plus 2 T unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 c plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1/4 cup plus 2 T boiling water

3/4 cup milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

1 3/4 c sugar

2 t vanilla

3 large eggs

Whipped Ganache
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 9" cake pans, line with parchment and butter parchment.
Sift the cocoa in a medium bowl and stir in boiling water. Gradually add milk. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, cream butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in sugar, scraping down sides twice. Add vanilla.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. With the mixer on low, alternate adding the flour mixture and cocoa mixture, starting and ending with flour.
Pour batter in prepared pans. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, about 15 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and return to rack to cool completely.

With a long serrated knife, trim the tops of wach cake layer until level. Place bottom layer on serving plate. Spread about 1 1/4 cups whipped ganache on the cake. Top with second layer and repeat. Spread the remaining ganache even over the top and side of cake. Store in refrigerator until 30 minutes before serving.
Whipped Ganache
Makes 1 quart
1 pound bittersweet chocolate
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
Place chocolate in a large heat-proof bowl.
Bring cream just to a boil over medium-high heat; pour over chocolate. Allow to sit for 10 minutes; use a rubber spatula to gently stir the cream and chocolate until combined.
Tranfer the ganache to the refrigerator to chill; stir every 5 minutes until the mixture is cool to the touch, about 45 minutes. Remove bowl from refrigerator. Whip the ganache with a wire whisk until it just barely begins to hold its shape and is slight lighter in color. Do not overwhip. Use immediately.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is my favorite oatmeal cookie recipe. Since I don't like raisins (as you may have gleaned from all the TWD recipes that include them), these are oatmeal chocolate chip.
Crispy edges and chewy centers, these are SO good. Since looking at food makes me gain 5 pounds, these will go to my family who's coming in town tomorrow. Only 8.5 more weeks until baby boy!
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
2 1/2 cup flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (you can use more; we don't like too much chocolate in our cookies)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream butter/margarine and sugars together until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and combine. Add baking soda, powder, salt and flour, and mix until just combined. Stir in oats and chocolate chips.
Drop by rounded tablespoon on ungreased cookies sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes. Cool on pans for two minutes before cooling completely on racks.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

TWD- Cinnamon Squares

I've been wanting to make this for a while- the picture in the book looks AMAZING. A moist cake with a chocolate ribbon in the middle, topped with shiny chocolate frosting. I would probably eat bugs if they were topped with shiny chocolate frosting. Anyway, this recipe did not disappoint. The cinnamon flavor is warm and breakfast-y, while the chocolate makes it more of a dessert. I halved the recipe and made mine in a 6" round pan.My chocolate layer wasn't pronounced like the picture in the book, and it was more at the bottom than in the middle, but you could still taste it. I actually used a chopped milk chocolate bar with macadamia nuts for the chocolate layer. Even though I don't normally like nuts in desserts, I thought the macadamia nuts added a lot to the cake.
You should go to Tracey's blog IMMEDIATELY for the recipe!