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March 17, 2014

Carrot Cake Parfaits

I love a good twist on an old favorite. I saw it in a recent issue of Martha Stewart. It is delish and will make a perfect Easter Dessert.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total time: 2 hours

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces (4 cups) peeled and grated carrots
    2 large eggs
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
    1 cup safflower oil
    1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
    1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 teaspoon ground ginger
    1 cup apricot jam

    Cream cheese filling:
    16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
    1 cup confectioners' sugar
    2 tablespoon grated orange zest
    pinch of Kosher salt
    1 cup heavy cream

    Beat cream cheese on medium until smooth. Beat in sugar, zest and salt. Fold in cream.

    Instructions:

    Preheat oven to 350. Coat a 12 by 17 inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Line with parchment and spray parchment.

    Whisk together carrots, eggs, sugars, oil, and fresh ginger.

    In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt cinnamon, and ground ginger. Fold flour mixture into carrot mixture.

    Spread batter into baking sheet. Bake until golden and a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire for 20 minutes. Invert onto rack, let cool completely.

    Cut out 16 cake rounds to fit in a parfait glass, using scraps as necessary

    Spoon 2 tablespoons jam into each glass, layer with the cream cheese filling, then 2 cake rounds, pressing to compact. Top each with filling and serve.

    Cooking Wiser

    To save time use a carrot cake box mix and prepare according to directions. Continue with this recipe by spreading batter into prepared baking sheet.

    Posted by terri at 02:34 AM | Comments (0)

    Roasted Wild Mushroom Soup

    Rather than using heavy cream, this recipe uses a roux and pureed mushrooms to thicken into a rich broth.

    Adding a variety of mushrooms will also deepen the flavor profile. Cremini and shiitake are a great choice. If you use shiitake, add them towards the end of the sauté process. They toughen when cooked too long on high heat.

    Serves 6
    Prep time: 15 minutes
    Total time: 45 minutes

    Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup medium color roux
  • 1 cup crème fraiche or sour cream for finishing (optional)

    Instructions:

    In a 3 quart saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil on medium high heat. When hot add the onions. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until golden brown. Only stir onions a few times.

    Slowly add the vinegar to the onions after they are golden brown and reduce the liquid (continue to cook) until almost dry.

    Add the stock, brandy and thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Slowly add the roux. Cover and cook on low heat while preparing the mushrooms.

    In a separate sauté pan, heat remaining oil and butter on medium high heat. Add the mushrooms. Pan roast the mushrooms until golden brown, about 5 to 6 minutes.

    Add mushrooms to beef broth. Cover and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes. Cook, stirring until mixture is well blended and slightly thickened. Ladle soup into bowls and dollop with crème fraiche or sour cream.


    Making a roux: Heat ½ cup cooking oil in medium skillet on medium high heat. Stir in 1/3 cup flour. Continue to heat and stir until desired color being careful not to burn the roux. A medium roux was used for this recipe. It is the color of peanut butter

    Cooking Wiser:

    Button and cremini mushrooms are a good choice for this recipe. They are less expensive than wild mushrooms. But for added flavor use a mix of Oyster, Shiitake and Cremini mushrooms.

    A roux will continue to cook for about 5-10 minutes after you remove from heat. It is very not so use caution.

    Remove bay leaves before serving

    Posted by terri at 01:51 AM | Comments (0)

    March 16, 2014

    Sautéed Chopped Kale with Lemon

    Spring Colorful greens brighten the garden with the first hint of spring. We used to cook the ever living daylights out of them in a big pot of boiling water. I loved them then and I love them now. But it is a new day and greens are sautéed and even roasted. The lemon replaces the traditional vinegar, providing a crisp, clean flavor.

    Serves 4

    Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound Kale, fibrous stems and ribs discarded, leaves coarsely chopped, washed and dried
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice

    Instructions:

    In a large skillet heat the oil and add 1 tablespoon butter. Add the onions and cook until golden.

    Add a big handful of the kale and cook, tossing often until it has collapsed enough to add more. Continue adding in batches until it is all in the pan and cook until tender, 2-3 minutes.

    Add the lemon juice and zest and toss.

    Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat, cover and allow to steam about 5 minutes. Add remaining tablespoon of butter and serve.

    Posted by terri at 10:57 PM | Comments (0)

    Spring is in the Air

    Warmer weather, daffodils, and sunshine will put a smile on your face, a bounce in our step and a dent in our budget. I usually spend a fortune on vegetable plants and spring and summer flowering annuals. But last year I thought ahead and saved a few seeds.
    I put out 8 different lettuces in hopes of enjoying new fresh summer salads. I'll also try a few light summer pasta dishes. This year there will be more healthy choices including some of the old favorites too.

    Here is a collection of a few spring and summer salads to peak your interest.

    Sauteed Chopped Kale with Lemon

    Caprese Salad

    Prosciutto Wrapped Salad Greens with Red Wine Dijon Vinaigrette

    Stawberry Salad with Candied pecans, Goat cheese and Balsamic vinaigrette

    Posted by terri at 03:41 PM | Comments (0)

    March 03, 2014

    Swiss Chard with Tarragon Butter

    If you can't find Swiss Chard or you find that it is a little pricey try chopped kale. It works!
    Swiss chard is actually a member of the beet family. There are several varieties, including ruby chard. It is grown for its green leaves and celery like stalks. Chard is available year round but is in season locally during the cooler spring and fall seasons. It is a good source of vitamins A and C and also iron.

    Kale is in the cabbage family and resembles Swiss Chard. It is also best when grown in cool climates and is high in vitamins A and C, folic acid and iron.

    Serves 4

    Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound Swiss Chard, fibrous stems and ribs discarded, leaves coarsely chopped, washed and dried
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)

    Instructions:

    Melt butter in microwave, remove and add tarragon.

    Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add a big handful of the Swiss chard and cook, tossing often until it has collapsed enough to add more.

    Continue adding in batches until it is all in the pan and cook until tender, 2-3 minutes.

    Add vinegar and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    Remove from heat, cover and allow to steam about 5 minutes. Add tarragon butter to chard and toss to coat. Serve warm.

    Cooking Wiser:
    Decrease butter to 2-3 tablespoons and add about 1-2 tablespoons EV olive oil to dress the greens.

    Posted by terri at 03:07 AM | Comments (0)

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