Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My deepest apologies

I know I have been slacking on the blog...I haven't completely forgot I promise. I have a folder full of photos but life has been crazy and I have almost no motivation to write them out. I will get back to it soon I hope.

Thank you.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Girl Scout at Heart

Growing up I was a Girl Scout. I started in the Brownies and moved up the ranks eventually helping my mom out - who was our Troop leader. Now we were not your typical Girl Scouts. We never went camping, we stayed in hotels. We did art and crafts most of the times. But the cookies were all well worth it! (Mental note: I must make a recipe using Girl Scout Cookies!)

Now I have to admit I had a blast in Girl Scouts. I met my Best Friend in my troop. Ive known her for almost 20 years now and she was even one of my bridesmaids at my wedding. The only thing I wish we would have done was Camping. Yes its a hard concept...me in the woods with a tent. We called ourselves "Troop Beverly Hills". Great movie! I honestly don't now how I would have been able to handle eating berries and sleeping on the ground, but i hear that camping goes hand in hand with S'mores.

One year my mom had the bright idea to make S'mores at a family gathering at my Grandparents house. 20 kids all hoped up with sugar near an open flame. Good times! Needless to say it was only about 3 minutes into the process that we discovered that a flaming marshmallow flies quite well.

This year my husband and I had a BBQ with my family. Instead of flaming marshmallows flying all over my new home I made this reciepe. Normally I would make the batter from scratch but I was cooking for about 80 people. If you use boxed the Ghiradelli Brownie is the best, in my opinion. Betty Crocker makes a good batter as well.

S'mores Brownies
1 Bowl of Brownie Batter
10 oz bag of Marshmallows
1 Graham Cracker Crust

Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes for the crust, 40 minutes for the brownies, 5 minutes marshmallows

2 cups of Crushed Graham Crackers
1/4 cups of Granulated Sugar
1/2 cup of Melted butter

Mix the Crushed Graham Crackers, sugar and melted butter together. Firmly press into a baking pan and bake for 10 minutes. You will need to pour the brownie batter on top so make sure your pan is big enough to hold it all.

Pour the brownie mixture over the Crust. Make sure it is nice and even. Bake for 40 minutes at 375 degrees or until a toothpick comes out clean

While the brownies are still hot layer the top with your marshmallows and set it under the broiler for just a few minutes. I personally love crispy gooey marshmallows so I leave it in for about 7 minutes. If you like yours more on the golden brown side 4-5 minutes should do. Make sure you keep an eye on them. They can and will burn very fast.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Happily ever after

I never understood why people think making a nice dessert takes forever. Dessert is usually the best part of any meal and its the last thing someone will taste. I guess it can be a very daunting task but it doesn't have to be.

I love me some Chocolate...no lots of Chocolate. As much of a Chocoholic as I am, I can not and will not have a heavy chocolate cake for dessert. It usually is great the first few bites but it will have you reaching to loosen your belt in no time. I believe a dessert should be satisfying and not heavy. Nice and light. Otherwise it may ruin your meal. I save the decadent desserts for girls nights and when we have friends over for coffee.

This has all the best qualities for a great sweet ending. It looks pretty and impressive. Everyone gets their own serving. You can make it a day in advance. It is also very dangerous because it is very cheap, quick and easy to make. Not to mention I usually have all the ingredients on hand anyway. You can even drop a dollop of it into your morning coffee the next day.

Chocolate Mousse
2 Cups of COLD heavy cream

1 cup of Semi Sweet Chocolate chips

2 teaspoons of Vanilla extract.

3 tablespoons of butter

Garnish: Chocolate shavings and 6 strawberries

Depending on how big your cups are this recipe will serve 6.

Melt the butter and a 1/4 cup of heavy cream over low heat.

Add the Chocolate Chips and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Set aside and let it cool to room temperature. The butter will prevent the chocolate from hardening up again.

Whip the remaining Heavy cream into Stiff peaks. Return to the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Divide the whipped cream in half. In one half VERY gently fold the chocolate in. Return to Fridge for 20 minutes. Fold the reaming cream into the chocolate. Whisk it again on Medium speed for 3-4 minutes.

Divide into 6 Cups, top with a strawberry and the chocolate shavings.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Just throw it in the batter

Quiche is one of those endless possibility dinners. You can pretty much throw anything cooked into a batter and you have quiche. You can make these ahead of time and freeze them for a quick and easy dinner on a crazy night or eat the left over cold. This recipe is pretty much open for interpretation. You can put anything your little heart desires into it. Just stick to the basic recipe and you'll be fine.

This is also a great and creative way to turn leftovers into a new dinner. You can add some left over meatloaf chopped up with some cheddar and you have Hamburger Quiche. You have left over chicken? Toss it in with some Monetary Jack Cheese and some Hot Sauce-Mexican Quiche. Is your garden out of control? No problem, Veggie Quiche.

Yes I know what you are thinking....oh boy here she goes with the cheese again. Deal with it. I do :-) this time I added bacon too. Say it with me now...'nom nom nom nom'. I know this isn't exactly a 'glamorous' recipe but it is very tasty, convenient and i am stunned by the amount of people who do not know how to make a good crustless quiche.

Basic Build Your Own Quiche:

2 Cups of Cooked Filling (I'm using Bacon)
1 Cup Shredded Cheese (I'm using Swiss)
1/4 Cup of Chopped Onion
1 Cup Bisquick
2 Cups of Milk
4 Eggs
Pinch of Salt, Dash of Pepper

Prep time: 10 Minutes
Cook time: 35 Minutes

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

Cook your choice of filling with the diced onions. If you aren't using bacon or anything else that will release oils while cooking use a bit of olive oil to coat the pan.

Whisk together the eggs, bisquick, milk, salt and pepper.

On the bottom of a pie plate add the filling. Then top with the shredded cheese of your choice.

Pour the Quiche batter over the top and Bake for 35 minutes at 400 degrees

Super easy simple Delicious Quiche.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A light take on Heavy

I have been tyring to make a very conscious effort into becoming healthier. I always cook with fresh ingredients and everything is made from scratch. Then it hits me. The dreaded Alfredo Sauce craving.

This recipe came to me one night when I was craving an oooey gooey Alfredo sauce. Thank god I just got off the phone with my travel agent and booked a tropical getaway. With the thought of frolicking around on a beach, in a bikini, with a tropical drink in my hand I couldn't make it. So I listened to my brain, not my stomach, and improvised a spin off of my insanely fattening and heart clogging Alfredo sauce (my first blog entry ever).

I really liked it....and so did my husband. It really hit the spot and was a nice light meal. Usually after eating Alfredo sauce I feel so bogged down. I just want to sit on the couch and not move. After this I felt light and satisfied. I might even do the unthinkable- Never make traditional Alfredo sauce again. My mother would be so proud!

Light Alfredo with Spinach Ravioli
8oz Marsarpone Cheese
1/2 can (about 8 oz) Chicken Broth
1 small onion, diced
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
Pinch of Paprika
Salt & Pepper to taste
A hand full of fresh parsley, chopped
1lb of Spinach Ravioli (any kind of pasta is fine)
Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

Cook your raviolis in salted water until they are just under Al'dente. Drain. Drizzle with Olive oil and toss.
In a non-coated pan heat the Olive Oil. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the Marscarpone cheese, Broth and spices. Whisk together until the cheese is dissolved.
Pour over the Ravioli, Sprinkle with parsley and enjoy. Quick. Easy. Simply

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

You dont eat no Meat? Ok I make you lamb.

Greek...Italian....Apples and Oranges- we are all just fruit right? Two of our dear friends are Greek and its so funny how similar our cultures are. We spent our first Greek Easter with my friends family and boy oh boy was it goooood! It was so nice to see other cultures celebrations. With us Easter is a Marathon of eating. From the moment you walk in the door until you unbutton your pants on the car ride home-you are eating...non stop. Its amazing. I was blessed to be born into a family that knows how to cook. I think that when you have a love for eating and tasting the cooking comes naturally. Food has always and will always be comforting. Big meals surrounded by 30 of your aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents is one of the biggest joys in life.

Greek Easter was a very different experience for us. We are used to sitting down, eating, talking and drinking wine the whole time. Nope...not the Greeks. We drive up and we could instantly smell the lamb roasting on the spit from down the block. The first thing that my Friend father does is rips off a piece of meat and hands it to us. Amazing. Then I see this thing that I thought was sausage. Her mother says that its the insides of the lamb wrapped up in intestines. Gross to most...but to me I couldn't wait to try it. Then the music started and everyone was dancing. Then a little bit of food...then dancing-rinse and repeat. My husband and I are used to eating and eating and eating. All of this moving around in between courses got us full very quickly. Next year I'll be prepared.

I'm always teaching my friend how to cook like an Italian and in return she teaches me to cook Greek. Bless her heart, because she does try, but she needs to stick with the Greek cooking! (love ya!). One of the first things she told me is "lamb, lemon and spices can make anything Greek- just leave out the Windex". When i came up with this next dish i made it for my friend. She said that this dish 'isn't really Greek' but she will let it slide because its so damn good.

Stuffed Leg of Lamb
1 Leg of Lamb, butterflied (you can use bone in or out)
2 apples chopped
1 onion chopped
1 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup of fresh mint, diced (you can use dried too but try not to please!)
3 lemons- 3 juiced, 1 zested
Salt & pepper to taste
Olive Oil

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

In a saute pan (big enough to hold your lamb) heat some Olive oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the onions and apples. Stir and cook until tender. Add the Mint, Lemon juice and zest. Cook for another 5 minutes on low.

Lay out your lamb and, if needed, pound out the lamb so that it is all even thickness. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Lay the apple mint mixture on top. Then add the crumbled goat cheese. Roll the meat and tie it with some butchers twine to keep it from opening up during cooking.

Add another few tablespoons of Oil to the Pan you used to cook the apples in. Place the Lamb roll in there and cook for 2-3 minutes each side to get a nice sear (I flipped mine too early here but the other sides came out good). When all sides are seared put it in your pre-heated oven and cook for about an hour or until the temperature is 140F degrees. Take it out of the oven and let it sit, loosely covered with aluminum foil for about 10 minutes. Slice and serve.

Wine suggestions: I personally like Petite Sirah. Most of them have a great spicy peppery taste.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Imagine your a deer...

"your prancing along, and you spot a brook, you put your little deer lips down to the cool, clear water. BAM! A F*cking bullet rips off part of your head. Your brains are lying on the floor in little bloody peices. Now I ask you: Do you really give a f*ck what kind of pants the son of a bitch who shot you was wearin'?"

I think I am the only person in the world who gets hungry when I hear this Quote. For those of you who don't know it, please climb out from under your rock and rent "My Cousin Vinnie". Joe Peshi & Marisa Tomei :::swoon:::

My husband called me on the way home from work one night and said "oh you are going to love me when I get home...I got a present for you!". My mind was racing. What could it be? Candy? Flowers? Wine? Diamonds? EVEN BETTER.....It was fresh caught deer meat! One of the guys who works with him went hunting and caught himself a nice big Buck. (Side note: Honey I did not really mean that venison meat it better than diamonds...please feel free to bring those home at anytime...preferably with venison).

The first night we grilled it as is. No spices, no seasoning just the wild game taste of the meat. Since beer and BBQ always go hand in hand this is my concoction for night 2 of the venison meat.
Beer Venison
2 Venison Loins (or 2lbs of any type of red meat if you don't like Venison)
1 Bottle of Beer (I'm using Stella-please don't use Bud or Coors for this!)
1/2 cup Light Brown Sugar
1/4 cup of Horseradish sauce
Garlic Powder
Prep Time: 10 minutes + mariade time
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Combine all the ingredients except for the Horseradish and pepper. Whisk until all the sugar is dissolved
Add the Horseradish and pepper and stir to incorporate
Let your meat sit in the marinade for no less than 4 hours. Over night would be ideal.

I was planning on putting this on the grill but due to a Tornado Watch (Yes in NY) I was forced to cook this on the stove. Get a Pan searing hot and sear all sides of the meat for 30 seconds. Add the remaining marinade to cover the Venison 1/2 way. Cook for 4 minutes on each side depending on the thickness of the cut and your preferred done-ness. Once you remove the meat from the pan simmer the Beer for about 5 minutes while you let the meat rest. Use as a dipping sauce.

Serving suggestions....um Beer works!