Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer Corn Soup


Sure you could use frozen corn, but why would you when there is fresh tasty corn to be had? This recipe was dreamed up by my favorite chef, Bob. It is 4th of July soon and a traditional item on the menu is corn on the cob. Make sure you get extra corn for this soup and make it the next day to help relieve the sadness that the holiday is over and you have to get back to work. I would hope that it would be really cold and rainy the next day providing the perfect setting for this dish, but the chances are slim in Arizona. It is similar to corn chowder, but in the words of Emeril Lagasse "let's kick it up a notch!"

Corn Soup
Ingredients:

3 fresh cobs of corn (remove corn from cob and blend uncooked)
2 cups of corn (cooked and removed from cob)
1/2 of a red pepper diced
1/2 green pepper diced
1/2 red onion diced
2 Tbs fresh sweet basil minced
1 Tbs fresh Thyme minced
1 Tbs minced garlic
5 slices of cooked bacon diced
2 cups water
1 cup chicken broth
1 C heavy cream added last

Optional: Sprinkle finely diced jalapeno pepper on top before serving.



Directions: In a large pot saute the ingredients except for the corn and cream in a little olive oil, salt and pepper to taste until clear. Then add liquids and boil for 10 min and add the corn and cream mix and heat through. (Blend fresh corn and cream in blender to make thickener for soup. Set aside.) Put remaining ingredients in soup pot and bring just to a boil. Add pureed mixture of corn and half and half to soup. Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

You could also skip the blender and make a roux using flour and butter for a more thick and creamy soup. Either way it is delicious with the fresh summer ingredients. Serve and enjoy! Don't forget to check out your summer online picnic basket by Louise!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Picnic Worthy Baked Beans






I'm going to a picnic and I'm bringing.........

A- Almond Joy Pie








B- Baked Beans, but not just any Baked Beans. The kind of baked beans that have people going back for seconds and thirds. Thanks to Louise for hosting this fabulous Picnic.



I promise once you try them you will never go back to the "old beans." Perhaps the only weird thing about this recipe is the mental debate I had on Ketchup vs Catsup. Why the different spellings?





Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef
1 large onion chopped
1 tsp salt
1-2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp dry mustard
2/3 cup Ketchup
1 can red kidney beans
1 16oz pork and beans
3 TBS brown sugar
Cooked and chopped bacon (optional)

Directions:
Cook meat and onion till browned. Mix with remaining ingredients and pour into casserole dish and bake one hour at 350 degrees.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Teriyaki Lettuce Wraps



This is my version of a lettuce wrap. It is very easy and such a refreshing meal in the summer. What do you eat when it is 105 degrees outside? Better yet where do you live that it is 105 or hotter? That genius would be me, and for the most part I love Arizona. However, sometimes it is so hot I have no idea what to eat. This is where cool crisp lettuce sounds like the perfect choice.

Ingredients:
1 head of Romaine Lettuce
1 Rotisserie Chicken or 1 fryer chicken baked and shredded
1/2 pkg of Chinese Rice sticks (follow cooking directions on package)
1 cup diced fresh mushrooms
2 green onions diced
1 can water chestnuts (diced)
1 bottle of Yoshida's teriyaki sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Remove chicken and shred from whole chicken. I cooked my own in a portable roaster I plugged in outside to avoid heating the house. Saute onions and mushrooms in olive oil and then add chicken and water chestnuts. Pour 1/4 cup of Yoshida's teriyaki sauce into mixture. Remove from heat and prepare lettuce by removing whole leaves, rinsing and drying. Prepare Chinese rice sticks. Add mixture to Romaine lettuce leaf and top with Chinese rice sticks. Serve and enjoy!



Sunday, June 13, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes and a Little Dirty Secret






The husband recently turned one year older and requested red velvet cupcakes. Should I be worried? I don't think so. I think he just likes the taste and the color red. I searched for what I thought would be a good recipe and found a great one. This recipe has been modified from Best Cupcake Recipes.

Are you ready for the little dirty secret? It isn't really dirty. Actually, it is quite tasty. Do you over pull gorgeous cupcakes out of the oven only to have them deflate and sink minutes later when cooling? Well, I read somewhere that if you simply do a heaping teaspoon, or a heaping of whatever measurement the recipe calls for, your cupcakes will stay plump and risen. I tried it with this recipe and it worked!

I also couldn't decide if I should do a butter cream frosting or cream cheese frosting. I love the sharp flavor of cream cheese frosting, but feel that red velvet cupcakes lack in sweetness and need butter cream frosting as well. So, I combined them and it was delicious!

These are just in time for the 4th of July if you add blue sprinkles on top!


Red Velvet Cupcakes
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder (heaping)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 oz. red food coloring (two bottles)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins or silicone pans with cupcake liners.

2. Mix cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the cocoa powder, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Add red food coloring until mixture is a vibrant red.

4. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. Be careful as it will fizz so don't do it in a shallow bowl. Add vinegar mixture to the cake batter and stir well to combine. Fill cupcake cups with cake batter until they are a little under 3/4 full. I ended up with 24 cupcakes. Place muffin tins in your preheated oven. Bake for approximately 15-20, rotating pans halfway through. The cupcakes are done when you are able to pat the tops and the cake springs back up. If it sinks down they are not yet complete.

5. Cool the cupcakes in their tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove and allow to cool completely before frosting.

6.I made half a batch of cream cheese frosting and half a batch of butter cream frosting and combined them for one delicious frosting. Serve and enjoy!

(Notice how they are still plump after cooling?)

Monday, June 7, 2010

What about Bob? .....and his pasta......and where have I been?



Well hello! Thanks for coming back even though I have been gone. I had a little vacation with the husband to see in-laws and attend a wedding. Don't worry my in-laws are very cool. How have you been? I missed you.

Once upon a time my Dad invented this pasta recipe and I have hated all other sauces since. What makes it even cooler is the chef's name is Bob. Bob the chef/dentist! A good guy to have around I'd say.

This sauce really is pretty easy and tastes healthy and light. The best thing about this recipe is you could easily add-in whatever you love and it would be quite tasty.



Ingredients:
One chopped onion
3-4 cloves of garlic minced
1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning (to taste)
1 teaspoon of capers (or black or green olives)
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 jar of artichoke hearts sliced briefly with knife
2-3 cans of diced canned tomatoes with oregano, or basil or other seasonings
1 pound of cooked and shredded chicken (I used my canned chicken and it just shreds perfectly once it hits the pan)
Salt and pepper to taste
Shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese

Saute the onion, garlic, capers, pine nuts, and seasonings in olive oil. Add the tomatoes,artichoke hearts and chicken. You can exchange the chicken for shrimp, sausage, or whatever protein you prefer and it will work perfectly. Let the sauce simmer for 20 minutes to let the flavors marry. While sauce is simmering, cook desired pasta. I use whole wheat pasta and can't tell the difference from white anymore. Serve over pasta, top with cheese, and enjoy!



I had lots of sauce left over and made a basic Alfredo sauce the next day to combine with the leftovers. It was creamy, and so flavorful with the tomatoes and pine nuts.