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Monthly Archives: March 2012

Chocolate-Peanut Meringue Kisses

My meringues got really brown and I burned myself on the oven knobs, which were blazing hot due to the oven door being propped open per the directions. Despite that, they turned out quite tasty. The almost burned ones tasted like burnt marshmallow (a flavor I enjoy). I also used toasted almonds instead of peanuts, and that flavor also complemented the brownness. I’ll probably make these again, maybe at a lower temperature and with oven mitts always on so I don’t scorch myself again.

Ingredients

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 oz roasted salted peanuts, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup) [I used almonds I had previously toasted]
  • 1/3 cup miniature chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat over to 350. In a medium heatproof bowl, combine egg whites, confectioners’ sugar, and pinch of salt. Set bowl over (not in) a pot of barely simmering water and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is warm and frothy and sugar is dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and, using an electric mixer, beat mixture on high until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla, then fold in peanuts and chocolate. Transfer mixture to a quart-size zip-top bag; with scissors, cut a 3/4-inch hole in one corner.
  2. Pipe 30 mounds (1 inch tall and 1 1/2 inches wide), 1 inch apart, on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake, using the handle of a wooden spoon to keep oven door slightly ajar, until dry to the touch, about 20 minutes, rotating halfway through. Let cool completely on sheet on wire rack before peeling off parchment. (Store in a single layer in airtight containers, up to 2 days.) Makes 30.
–Recipe courtesy Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine, April 2012.
Final toasty product:

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Kale and Ricotta Ravioli (wonton wrapper ravioli attempt #2)

Quite a bit of cursing was involved when I made Three Cheese Ravioli with wonton wrappers. There was some sticking and bursting going on. I decided I had to try a second time, maybe with a different method (fold each one in half and moisten with water instead of gluing two wontons together with egg whites) and applying some oil immediately after taking them out of the water. Both helped a bit, but it wasn’t perfect. Also, I think the ratio of kale to cheese wasn’t ideal (I wanted to use up all the kale, so I did, but that meant way more kale than cheese). They tasted pretty good though, and I had tons left to freeze. We’ll see how those turn out!

Ingredients

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 bunch kale (3/4 pound), tough stems and ribs removed
  • 1 3/4 cups ricotta [I used queso fresco]
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 48 square wonton wrappers (from a 12-ounce package)
  • 4 cups marinara sauce, warmed

Directions

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook kale until tender, 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer kale to a colander. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out excess water and finely chop. In a medium bowl, mash together kale, ricotta, Parmesan, and garlic; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Assemble ravioli: Arrange 6 wrappers on a work surface, keeping remaining wrappers covered with a damp towel. Spoon a scant tablespoon kale mixture in center of each wrapper. With a fingertip, moisten edges of wrapper with water, then fold over filling to form a triangle and press to seal (flatten area around filling to eliminate air pockets). Place ravioli on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover with a kitchen towel. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.
  3. Return salted water to a boil; reduce to a bare simmer. Drop half the ravioli into water, one at a time, stirring gently to prevent sticking. Cook until al dente, about 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer ravioli to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet, arrange in a single layer, and let drain briefly. Repeat with remaining ravioli. Serve topped with sauce.

–Recipe courtesy Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food, March 2012.

Here you can see how much kale I used:

Final presentation:

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Rustic Cabbage Soup with Cannellini Beans and Parmesan

I don’t remember how I found this recipe. I had a ton of bok choy from FFTY that I needed to use up, and I figured, it’s cabbage, right? I must have Googled cabbage recipes or something. It turned out to be very tasty; I was quite surprised. I think the thyme and bay leaf are what gave it that extra tasty flavor. I have an actual cabbage in my fridge that I need to use, as well as some potatoes; I may try this again!

Ingredients

  • 1 small cabbage [I used a bunch of huge bok choy instead]
  • 4 small potatoes, peeled [I used sweet potatoes]
  • 2 small turnips, tops and bottoms removed, no need to peel if using baby turnips and peeled if using larger turnip [I skipped this and added a couple stalks of celery instead]
  • 2 leeks, tops trimmed
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • parmesan rind [didn’t have this, sadly]
  • 1 15 oz can cannellini beans, or 2 cups of cooked cannellini beans
  • 5 cups vegetable stock [I used chicken stock]

Instructions

Halve the leeks lengthwise, slice crosswise into 1/2″ pieces. Transfer to a large bowl filled with cold water and let stand until dirt and sand falls to the bottom. Rinse thoroughly and drain in a colander. Trim and core the cabbage, slice in half and slice into 1/4″ ribbons and half crosswise. Halve potatoes and cut into a 1/2″ dice. Halve turnips and cut into a 1/2″ dice.

In a dutch oven, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, stir, and cover and let sweat for 5 minutes. Add bay leaf and fresh thyme, stir for 1 minute. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil, plop in the parmesan rind. Add potatoes, turnips, leeks, and cabbage. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add cooked cannellini beans to the soup and simmer for 10 minutes. Sometimes the rind will dissolve into the soup, if it did not dissolve, simple fish it out with a slotted spoon before serving. Serve hot with grated parmesan on top and alongside toasted crusty bread.

–Recipe courtesy http://plateandpour.blogspot.com.

Finished soup:

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Easy Lemon Pie

After needing egg whites to seal the Three Cheese Ravioli, I wanted to use up the 2 egg yolks that were left over. I found a great page that gave advice about how to use up any number of egg yolks, and it recommended this pie for two yolks. I had a big of a disaster with my improvised double boiler (the bowl I was using was too small for the saucepan) and much swearing and water contamination ensued. Since it occurred some time into the process, I decided to bake the remains a bit to see if I could salvage the pie. It turned out edible, but probably not as good as it could have been!

Ingredients

  • 1 (9 inch) pie shell
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Prick pie shell with a fork and bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl blend egg yolks and condensed milk. Stir in lemon juice. Heat this mixture in a double boiler, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it thickens. Pour into piecrust and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

–Recipe courtesy allrecipes.com/Nancy.

A piece of the pie a day or two after I had gotten over screwing it up:

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Three Cheese Ravioli (mostly handmade)

I’ve been wanting to try to make ravioli with wonton wrappers since I learned it was easy to do. The bacon cheddar substitution was indeed a great idea; the flavor was wonderful. They turned out OK, but I think they might have been more trouble than they were worth – they stuck together immediately, and some ruptured, though I think those might have been the first ones I made when I wasn’t careful enough about pressing all the air out. Again I forgot to take a photo right away, the photo below is of the leftovers with some store-bought sauce and chives on them instead of the original tomato concoction.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup part skim ricotta cheese [I used queso fresco, which worked fine, maybe a little less melty than ricotta would have been]
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese [I used the Cabot Creamery Bacon Chedder instead]
  • 2 tbsps grated parmesan cheese [I used Asiago]
  • 48 wonton wrappers
  • 2 egg white
  • 2 cloves garlic cloves
  • 1 cup basil leaves (torn) [I used a little bit of dried basil instead]
  • 2 pts cherry tomato
  • salt
  • pepper

Instructions

  1. 1 bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Mix the three cheeses together.
  2. Working on a clean, floured surface, lay down a single wonton wrapper and place a spoonful of the cheese mixture in the center.
  3. Paint the edges of the wonton wrapper with egg whites, then top with another wonton wrapper. Press firmly around the edges to secure the filling. Repeat to create 24 ravioli.
  4. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  5. Cook the tomatoes and garlic for 5 to 7 minutes until the tomatoes are lightly colored and about to burst. Use a fork to lightly crush a few tomatoes. Add the basil and remove from heat.
  6. Salt the boiling water and turn to a gentle boil. Carefully drop the ravioli in and cook for three minutes, then drain. Divide among four plates and top each with tomatoes.

–Recipe courtesy food.com.

Ravioli with some store bought tomato sauce:

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Grandma Inez’s Pineapple Pie

I needed to make a pie for a party, and I remembered I had some frozen pineapple bits in the freezer from Trader Joe’s. A pineapple pie sounded yummy, so I Googled it and found someone’s Grandma’s recipe! I don’t think I’ve ever made a pie with meringue before, so this was my first try (I got to use my new KitchenAid mixer!). I liked how it initially turned out, but it quickly got a little weepy on the ride to the party. The pineapple part of the pie tasted good, but not sure about the meringue. Oh well – I guess I need more practice!

Ingredients

  • FOR THE PIE:
  • ¾ cups Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 whole Eggs, Separated
  • ⅓ cups Cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • ½ cups Plus 2 Tablespoons Of Water
  • 8 ounces, weight Canned Crushed Pineapple [I used frozen pineapple bits and a dash of sugar and water, to try to make up for the moisture that would have been in the canned pineapple]
  • 1 whole 9-inch Pre-baked Pie Crust
  • FOR THE MERINGUE:
  • 2 whole Egg Whites (from Separated Eggs Above)
  • ⅛ teaspoons Salt
  • ¼ teaspoons Cream Of Tartar
  • 6 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla

Instructions

For the pie, cream sugar, butter, and egg yolks in a saucepan. Add cornstarch and vanilla. Add water and crushed pineapple. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick. Pour into a 9″ baked pastry.

For the meringue, whip egg whites until they begin to get foamy. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to whip until the meringue has reached soft peak stage and is smooth and glossy. Place the meringue over the cooled pie. Brown at 400ºF for just a few minutes. Store in the fridge until ready to serve. Tastes great warm or cold.

–Recipe courtesy tastykitchen.com/Natalie’s Grandma Inez.

Finished product, before the weeping:

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

French Leek Pie

When we received 4 big leeks in the FFTY box, I knew I had to get serious about using them up, so I made this yummy pie (I also made mustard soup). I used Cabot Creamery’s Bacon Cheddar instead of the Gruyere and it was ah-mazing. So much tasty bacon flavor to go with the zesty leeks and toasty crust!

Ingredients

  • 1 (9 inch) refrigerated pie crust
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 3 leeks, chopped
  • 1 pinch salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup light cream [I used milk and it worked out fine]
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded Gruyere cheese [I used the bacon cheddar instead]

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in leeks; cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cream and cheese, and warm through. Pour mixture into pie shell
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until custard is set and golden on top. Allow to sit 10 minutes before cutting pie into wedges.
–Recipe courtesy allrecipes.com/plume d’argent.
As usual, I forgot to take a photo of the finished pie before we cut into it, but here’s a piece of it:

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2012 in Uncategorized