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Monthly Archives: June 2011

Lunch Time!

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I go through phases where I buy lunch a lot at work and when I’m good at planning ahead and bringing my lunch. I’m on a phase of bringing my lunch right now. The thing for me about packing a lunch is that is still needs to be fresh an interesting and delicious. Last night I picked up some groceries to help the attempt at saving money and being slightly healthier.
Today’s (and the rest of the weeks) menu is a turkey sandwich. I know it sounds boring, but it’s not! I used a cheddar foccacia bread with smoked turkey and smoked Gouda cheese, a chipotle Dijon mayo, tomato and drag cilantro.

Yummmmmmmmmm!!

Almond and cherry cupcakes

My brother-in-laws birthday was on Sunday.  I also work with him, so I decided to make cupcakes to take to the office on Monday.  I decided to go a little bit Sandra Lee on the cupcakes, and just got a box of white cake mix and spruced it up with almond extract and chopped maraschino cherries.  The almond flavoring made a HUGE difference!  I will never make a plain boxed cake without adding it.

1 box white cake mix

3 eggs

1 and 1/3 cups water

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 or 1 1/2 tablespoon(s) almond extract

1/4 cup or so maraschino cherries, chopped

1 tub store bought vanilla frosting

Prepare the cake mix according to the instructions.  Add in the extract and chopped cherries.  Divide the batter into the lined cupcake pan and cook according to the package directions.  Test by sticking a tooth pick or a piece of spaghetti into the center.  They are done when it comes out clean.  Let the cupcakes completely cool before icing.  I did half of the cupcakes with plain vanilla frosting and topped with a cherry.  I mixed half of the frosting with about 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of the cherry juice.  It gave it great flavor and a fun color.

Enjoy!

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Blue Cheese Cheese Ball

I LOVE cheese (in case you haven’t noticed that yet!)!!  My mum has made this cheese ball, but I’m not sure where the recipe came from originally.  Whatever angel created it, I am thankful for them.  It’s fantastic and quick and easy to put together.

2 blocks of cream cheese

2 containers processed cheddar cheese (I used BL, but my mum has used the Old English brand)

1 container blue cheese crumbles (about 5 or 6 ounces)

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Craisons, walnuts or pecans

Blend all of the ingredients with a mixer (it helps to have the ingredients at room temperature).  Roll into a ball with your hands or plastic baggies.  Roll in craisons or nuts.  I prefer the craisons because they give a wonderful tart balance to the bite of the blue cheese.  Refrigerate for several hours or ideally over night.

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Herbed Cream Cheese Log

I found this recipe in my trusty “Finger Foods” cook book.  I made it for a friends house warming/ graduation party over the weekend.  It was very tasty.  I was pleasantly surprised with how easy actually making the log was, but if you want to go with an even easier appetizer you could mix in the parsley, tarragon and dill with the cream cheese form a ball and roll in the chives.  The log did make a very presentation though!

2 blocks cream cheese

2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 clove garlic

1 container fresh chives

2 tablespoons fresh parsley

2 tablespoons fresh tarragon

2 teaspoons dill (I used dried, but fresh would be better)

Make a paste with the garlic.  I used minced garlic and then pulled a knife sideways across the garlic until it breaks down.  This helps spread the flavor throughout the whole thing and eliminate a potent bite.

Mix the cream cheese (dong this at room temperature is best), lemon juice and garlic with an electric mixer.

Cover a jelly roll pan with tin foil.

Snip the chives in small pieces and spread evenly over the foil.  Spread the cream cheese over the chives.  I ended up using my hands, because it kept sticking to the spatula and knife.  Chop the parsley and tarragon.  Sprinkle the herbs (including the dill) across the top of the cream cheese.

Pull the short end of the foil up and fold the cheese a few inches in.  Keep rolling into a log with the help of the foil.  Use your fingers to smooth any sections.  Once you reach the other end and it’s a lovely log.  Cover and refrigerate for several hours or over night.

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Happy Father’s Day!!

Sadly I didn’t get to spend the day with my dad, but am so grateful to have such an amazing dad!!  He rarely would do things for me (mostly fixing things), but would always teach me as he did and show me how to do it.  I am so grateful for this, because I may not remember how to do something completely but at least know where to start.  He has always been supportive and loving and I’m a lucky girl!

How did you celebrate your dad today?

 

 

 

Cherry Clafouti

I saw this recipe in my latest edition of Bon Appetit magazine and knew I had to make it.  It looks (and I found, smells) like summer.  It is the perfect recipe to have it your summer rotation, especially if you like to entertain.  It uses simple, fresh ingredients, is very quick to prepare and really just offers that simple fresh summer taste that is unbeatable.  I already have a list of other seasonal fruits to adjust the recipe with, so stayed tuned soon for black raspberry clafouti, peach clafouti, raspberry and mint clafouti, blueberry clafouti… I actually cut the original recipe in half when I made it, so you will see that it made 4 individual servings in ramekins for me.  If you follow the recipe below don’t be surprised when it makes a full cake or numerous ramekins, be delighted!

1 pound fresh cherries, steamed and pitted

1 cup whole milk

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

4 large eggs

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 tsp finely and freshly grated lemon zest

3/4 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp kosher salt

powdered sugar (to dust after baking)

You will need a 10″ spring form pan or 8 ramekins

Preheat the over to 375.  Butter pan or ramekins.  Spread the cherries in a single layer in the pan or dishes.

Combine milk and cream in a small saucepan; bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Set aside. Combine eggs, flour, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl; whisk to blend. Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture; whisk until custard is smooth. Pour custard evenly over cherries in pan. If necessary, gently shake pan to allow custard to settle.

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Bake clafouti until custard is set and top is golden brown, about 30 minutes for ramekins and 45-55 minutes for cake pan. Let cool 3 minutes, then run a knife around pan sides to loosen clafouti (if using a cake pan). Dust top with powdered sugar; cut into wedges and serve.

Grape Salad (Take recipe cards for this with you to the picnic)

My aunt made this grape salad a while back for a picnic, and I thought it was so delicious and asked for the recipe.  I made it for a picnic at my friends house.  I had to e-mail the recipe to several people the next day.  After hearing that the reception after church after the baptism was a pot luck, I decided to make this.  The bowl was scraped clean and was the talk of the luncheon, with several requests for the recipes.  If you want to be proactive and really wow your friends and family, pre type up some recipe cards for the inevitable, “who made that”, “can you send me the recipe” because you will hear it!  Or of course, you can direct them to my blog to get the recipe!

4-5 pounds grapes (I mix half green and half purple)

1 cup sour cream (I used lite)

1 TBS vanilla

1 block cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat)

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup chopped pecans

Rinse the grapes and mix them in a large bowl.  Mix the sour cream with the vanilla in one bowl.  In a separate bowl mix the cream cheese and sugar.  (You do have to do this in 2 steps)  Then combine the sour cream mixture with the cream cheese.  Pour over the grapes and mix.  Combine the brown sugar and pecans and spread over the grapes.  It tastes best when you do this the night before because it gives the brown sugar and pecans a chance to caramelize a bit.