Archive for July, 2011

July 29, 2011

Spinach Ricotta Pie

We keep on getting stuff called amaranth from our co-op. It is not a bad thing (actually pretty good) and it actually tastes a lot like spinach (with a slightly more bitter & fuzzy-ness to them) The major problem is that we are getting tired of it and we are also avoiding using the oven all the time during these summer months!

With our last crop of Amaranth I decided I wanted to do some sort of Spinach Pie & this recipe looked like it would hit the spot (which it did)! This got huge thumbs up from us & my parents (served with a big salad and some grilled garlic chicken to satisfy dad’s need for protein with every meal). The flavors in this were right on and in many ways it reminded me of my Spinach Feta Pie, (which I guess I never blogged, and am now craving as well)! Veggie Pies are an awesome way to get some tasty flavors into your diet (although “diet” is a rough word to use here with the 3+ cups of cheeses in the pie). So just ENJOY!

Spinach Ricotta Pie

  • 1 9″ prepared pie crust
  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry OR 1 big bunch spinach which you wilt down yourself
  • 8 ounce (1 cup) mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
  • 3 large eggs, beaten to blend
  • 1/3 cup basil pesto
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350° F

Place a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the chopped onion in the butter until very soft and translucent, about 12 minutes. Mix in the thawed, squeezed spinach.

Combine remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the spinach/onion mixture and stir to combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Transfer filling to prepared pie crust. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until puffed and golden. Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving & ENJOY

And I leave you with today’s Question… what is your favorite “health food” – whether it is a true or fake health food?

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July 27, 2011

Pickled Snap Peas

After getting a bag of Snap Peas a few weeks ago from our CSA I was wondering what to do with them, since I did not thinkI liked Snap (or Snow) Peas. The most interesting thing happened as I started to clean and work with the peas though… I started to taste them and realized that these things are awesome!!

Even though I found out that I liked the flavor of them raw, I already had my heart set of making Whitney’s version of Pickled Snap Peas. I always seem to have my heart set on pickles, so I knew I would not be disappointed! (The rest of the peas which escaped pickling, made their way into my Sesame Snow Peas with Asian Crab Cakes)

I tasted these a day later and they were good enough to eat, but resisted temptation and let them sit another week or so and they were worth the wait! These are nice and crunchy still with all the taste you would expect from something pickled. So get your harvest of peas (or go ahead and make this with the green beans that are currently in abundance) and make up a jar of these to enjoy in a few days – YUM!

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Pickled Sugar Snap Peas
Adapted from The Joy of Pickling via Epicurious

1 1/4 cups white distilled vinegar
1 1/4 cups cold water
1 tablespoon kosher or pickling salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pound sugar snap peas, stems trimmed and strings removed
4 garlic cloves, sliced
at least 3 -4 dashes dried red pepper flakes

In a nonreactive saucepan, heat the vinegar with the salt and sugar until they are dissolved. Remove from the heat, and add the cold water. (This gives you a leg up on getting the liquid to cooling the liquid.)

When the vinegar mixture is cool, pack the sugar snaps, garlic and chile peppers or flakes into a 1-quart jar or bowl, and pour the brine over it. Cover with a non-reactive cap, or, er, plastic wrap.

The original recipe suggests you store the jar in the refrigerator for two weeks before eating the pickled peas, but good luck with that. They’re quite delicious and already lightly pickled by 24 hours later.

And I leave you with a Question… What is YOUR favorite pickled food (and do you have an easy recipe on how to make it)!?

July 25, 2011

S’mores Bar Cookies

OK – and I’m back!

I’m sorry for the break, part of me was just being lazy (it was well into the 90’s all last week) but I was also running lots of errands, getting kidnapped by family, volunteering, and doing things to get ready for a wonderful wedding this past weekend.

Rich’s sister tied the knot to a wonderful guy who is a perfect match for her; they are both amazing people who truly deserve each other and bring happiness wherever they go. We could not be happier for them! Remember those Snickerdoodle Muffins I made for the bachelorette/bachelor weekend? Well it turns out that Snickerdoodles just happen to be the Groom’s favorite Cookie, so I made them some Snickerdoodle Chex Mix for their Honeymoon Goodie Bag as well as repeating the Muffins for the people we were staying with.

 I also tried to make Blueberry Blue Velvet Cupcakes  as another one of my ‘food for the house’ contribution (per request of one of the bridesmaids we were staying with) – but I didn’t follow the recipe exactly and was not crazy about how they turned out (although everyone else seemed to enjoy them).

BUT – I’m now off track (again, sorry). This post is not about any of the wedding goodies, that was just me saying I was sorry for not putting much up recently.

This post is about another awesome S’mores recipe. Last week we were getting together with some friends and I wanted to bring a snack for our picnic lunch & whipped up these S’mores Bar Cookies. And I do mean that I just whipped them up – they literally take less than 2 hours start to finish including refrigeration time & bake time!

These S’mores Bar Cookies are a mix between a Blondie & a Chocolate Chip Bar Cookie. The flavors are right on, the cinnamon in the batter is perfect & they are nice and chewy (even a week later – I stored them in the fridge and then just let them come to room temperature). Even Dad (you know, that guy who I said hates S’mores & Marshmallows) really enjoyed these!! I personally loved them slightly heated up and then with a tiny scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

S’mores Bar Cookies

Adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything – my version makes 1 thick pan

  • 11 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cup mini marshmallows
  • 2 regular sized Hershey’s bars, broken into pieces
  • 1-2 packages graham crackers, broken into squares

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line large baking pan(s) with parchment paper.

Lay out graham crackers side by side on the pans as close as possible (they should be touching). I used about 18 graham cracker squares. You may have to add or remove graham crackers according to how much dough you have. I wanted thicker bar cookies, but feel free to stretch it to 2 pans if you want thinner cookies!

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, sea salt and cinnamon to combine. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter with white and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixer and combine on low speed.

Fold in the chocolate chips and marshmallows. Chill dough in refrigerator for about 1 hour (I chilled just for the amount of time it took for my oven to preheat)

Place tablespoons of dough on graham crackers about 1 – 1 ½ inches apart. I averaged about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough per graham cracker square as seen in the picture above. [I also sprinkled some extra mini-marshmallows before I pressed in the dough for some extra good-ness]. Press down slightly with fingertips.

Bake for about 8 minutes then remove from oven to press Hershey’s bar pieces on to the top. You can place as many pieces or as little as you want depending how much chocolate flavor you want.

Bake for about another  5 – 7 more minutes or until dough is beginning to turn golden brown at the edges. Remove to a wire rack to cool. For clean cutting make sure cookies are completely cool and cut with a sharp knife.

And I leave you with this question…. what treat(s) would you like to see repurposed into bar-cookie form? I love bar cookies: they are easy to transport & eat – I think the only reason cupcakes are more ‘popular’ is because they look fancier. We should all work together to get Bar Cookies more notoriety!

July 19, 2011

Red, White, & Blue Jiggler Shot

This post is a few weeks later than I wanted it to be – SORRY

I started making some Jello Jiggler Shots early this year with ‘Beer Jigglers’ for New Years and then some Margarita Jigglers around Memorial Day (never photographed – Ill re-make and re-do those). Every time I make Jigglers they are a big hit & so much fun. Rich “hates” Jello & Jigglers but gets excited every time that I make these because as they say “there is always room for Jello”!

I have been enjoying my new Jiggler experiments and wanted to bring something fun & festive to our neighbor’s July 4th party and thought these Red, White & Blue Jigglers were just perfect  (I also made Mudslide Jigglers – but those all went to my family, although I do need to make them again for the next time we get together with friends since they were so good)

How To…

All recipe direction are about the same, but I’ll write them out since they vary slightly. They should all be made in either a 9 x 9 pan or a loaf pan (the short square ones are easier to cut). You can also use silicone molds with a little cooking spray before to allow for easy release. Recipes in this post are from (or adapted along the same lines of) the Jelly Shot Test Kitchen Cookbook.

Red: Sangria Jigglers

  • 1 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2.5 packages knox gelatin

Place the wine in a small saucepan & sprinkle the gelatin on top – let set for a minute or two. Turn the heat on very low and slowly dissolve the gelatin until melted, about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until everything is dissolved and mixed through. Pour into a small (9×9) square container or a loaf pan. Lets set in the refrigerator several hours or overnight (it needs at least 4 hours).

White: Banana Coconut Daiquiri

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup Rum
  • 1/3 cup Maibu Rum
  • 3/4 cup banana liqueur
  • 2 packages Knoxx

Place the milk in a small saucepan & sprinkle the gelatin on top – let set for a minute or two. Turn the heat on very low and slowly dissolve the gelatin until melted, about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until everything is dissolved and mixed through. Pour into a small (9×9) square container or a loaf pan. Lets set in the refrigerator several hours or overnight (it needs at least 4 hours).

* I used 99 bananas liqueur and this was WAY too strong for my taste – please cut it down to 1/2 cup and add 1/4 cup more milk if you try this OR use a different liqueur!

Blue: Blue Hawaii

  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1/4 cup blue curacao liqueur
  • 1/4 cup rum (white OR Malibu)
  • < 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 packages Knox

Place the pineapple juice, vodka, & lemon juice in a small saucepan & sprinkle the gelatin on top – let set for a minute or two. Turn the heat on very low and slowly dissolve the gelatin until melted, about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until everything is dissolved and mixed through. Pour into a small (9×9) square container or a loaf pan. Lets set in the refrigerator several hours or overnight (it needs at least 4 hours).

And I leave you with this question… What classic color OR drink combinations would be fun to make for your next gathering!?

July 15, 2011

Mudslide Jello-Jiggler Shots

I recently bought the Jelly Shot Test Kitchen’s book (which I lent out before I even made my first recipe from it – that is how excited we [me & my friends] were to have it). I could have went through this entire book and made (almost) all of these Jello Jiggler shots and have been happy!

You may remember I made Beer Jigglers for New Years (which were not a huge hit – but I would love suggestions as to how to make them better, because seriously it is a good idea, in theory). For July 4th this year I made RED, WHITE, & BLUE Jiggler Shots and also these Mudslide Jigglers.

Stained Glass Mudslide Jigglers

Instead of just making a plain mudslide though – I decided to make it a fancy “stained glass” jiggler (kinda like I made at Christmas). The taste was AWESOME and they are so easy to eat (much better than the plastic cup version of Jello Shots we are used to and that I hate since then your fingers get all gross & sticky). The only problem is that they are too easy to eat so make sure you do the math & know your limit – these things go down easy!!

They also were a bit ‘sharp’ for my taste. I am not sure if they were just ‘sharp’ since they were layered and maybe would be smoother all mixed together? Anyway, next time I would cut down on the vodka & maybe add some coffee or chocolate milk in its place. I am sure I will make them again, so when I do so I’ll be sure to update this here to let you know how it goes. (OR, you can play around and let me know how it works out)

Mudslide Jigglers

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Baileys Irish Cream
  • 1/2 cup Kahlua
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 2 envelopes Knox Gelatin

Put your milk into a small saucepan & sprinkle your 2 packages of Knox on top – allowing it to soak for a minute or two. Then turn your heat on very low and stir constantly for about 5 minutes until gelatin is fully disolved (this will be thick).

Then pour in your Baileys & Kahlua (stirring very well to blend it all). Finally add the vodka (or whatever you are replacing vodka with – it you are replacing with something non-alcoholic, you can add it in with the milk before the Knox).

Pour the entire mixture into either a loaf pan or a 9×9 square pan (as long as its flat – you are pretty much ok with anything). Allow to set for a few hours (or even overnight) and cut as soon as possible to serving as possible (only take out a few at a time or serve on an iced platter so they don’t melt especially outside). This should make about 18-24 mudslide jiggler shots!

And I leave you with a Jello Question…. What is your favorite drink that you would love to see turned into Jiggler Form (I want to experiment!)

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