Friday, November 26, 2010

Lemon Pound Cake a la Joy The Baker

One of Margaret's favs!

8 Oz. Cream Cheese
3/4 C Butter (unsalted)
1 1/2 C Sugar
1 T Lemon zest
1 1/2 t Vanilla
2 T Lemon juice
4 Eggs (room temp)
2 C Flour (sifted)
1 1/2 t Baking powder

Equipment: electric mixer, flour sifter, zester, large mixing bowl, pound cake baking pan (greased and floured)
Bakes at 325 for 60 to 75 minutes
  • Sift the flour and baking powder together
  • Cream butter and cream cheese using an electric mixer
  • Combine the lemon zest and sugar
  • Add the sugar/lemon mixture to the butter/cream cheese mixture; continue creaming
  • Add the lemon juice and vanilla; then begin adding one egg at a time, beating for one minute or so between each addition
  • Slowly add the flour/baking powder after the above is well blended; using a large spoon or spatula, stir in the dry ingredients
  • Pour batter into pound cake pan and bake immediately
The original incarnation of this recipe calls for a blueberry sauce, but since Mom Gregory is a fruit-hater, we opt for chocolate. Any of our chocolate glazes or sauces will do!

Chocolate Mousse Poufs

This recipe is courtesy of Southern Living; love it!

14 Oz. Bittersweet chocolate
3/4 C Butter (unsalted)
6 Eggs (separated)
1/4 t. Salt
1 C Sugar

Equipment: electric mixer, double boiler, mugs or creme brulee cups that are freezer/oven safe
Bakes at 325 for 30 minutes
  • Bring water to boil in bottom of a double boiler; add butter and chocolate to the top pan. Melt butter and chocolate completely.
  • In a larger mixing bowl, add the egg whites and salt; beat until frothy
  • Once frothy, slowly add in the sugar while continuously beating; continue to beat mixture until peaks form
  • Stir the egg yolks into the chocolate; following that, add the egg white mixture to the chocolate. Stir gently with a rubber spatula.
  • Once fully combined, add 4 Oz. of mousse to each cup or mug; cover with plastic and place in freezer
  • Freeze for a minimum of 2 hours; can be frozen for up to one week
  • When ready to serve, proceed baking frozen cups of mousse; serve very hot
We like to save a bit of the original chocolate mixture to top the mousse poufs! This is so yummy and easy!

Minor's Garlic Bread

This one's courtesy of Barefoot Contessa! Thanks to Dad for giving it a go the first time.

1 Large ciabatta bread
6 Garlic cloves (minced)
1/4 C Parsley
2 T Oregano leaves
1 T Kosher Salt
1/2 t Ground black pepper
1/2 C Olive oil
1 T Butter (unsalted, room temp)

Equipment: skillet, food processor, aluminum foil
Bakes at 350 degrees; see details for cook time
  • Put garlic, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper into food processor; pulse until minced
  • In skillet, saute the garlic/herb mixture with the olive oil over low heat for 3 minutes; cook until garlic is tender but not browned
  • Meanwhile, slice ciabatta in half horizontally; after garlic/herb mixture is ready, spread on bread and wrap the loaf in aluminum foil
  • Bake the bread for 5 minutes wrapped; unwrap and bake for an additional 5 minutes
  • Serve extra-warm!

Mica's Magnificent Salsa

8 Tomatoes
2 Jalapenos (stemmed and seeded)
1/2 White onion
1/2 C Cilantro (stemmed)
3 Cloves of garlic (minced)
1/4 t. Cumin
1/4 t. Thyme
1/4 t. Oregano
Salt and pepper
2 T Olive oil

Equipment: large and small boiling pots, blender

  • Boil tomatoes, jalapenos, and onion until soft; approx. 20 minutes
  • Add all ingredients EXCEPT for the olive oil to blender; blend until desired texture is achieved
  • Pour 1/4 C. of salsa mixture into smaller pot with the olive oil; bring to a light boil
  • Add remainder of salsa mixture; turn heat down to low/medium heat; simmer salsa for 40 minutes
  • Bring salsa to room temperature; serve immediately with thin tortilla chips
This is even better the second day! Enjoy Mica's expert cooking.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Easy Pecan Pie

A no brainer; just a small tip though, use a disposable pie pan because clean up is a hot mess otherwise.

3 Eggs (beaten well)
1 C Sugar
1 C Dark corn syrup
2 T Butter (melted)
1 t Vanilla
1 1/2 C Pecans (halved)
Pie Crust (we like the refrigerated Pillsbury kind best)

Equipment: electric mixer, large mixing bowl, pie pan
Bakes at 350 degrees for 55 minutes
  • Mix together eggs, sugar, dark corn syrup, butter, and vanilla; blend well
  • Add pecans
  • Pour into pie shell that has been well greased and get ready for a yummy smell in your kitchen!

Monday, November 15, 2010

How To Make A Great Quesadilla

Not exactly a recipe, but since all my buddies LOVE to make these, I figured I'd share how to do it just right. You know, like I do (lol).

Flour tortillas (we prefer the smaller size for more petite quesadillas)
Vegetable oil
ANY fillings you want; our go-to is goat cheese, provolone, prosciutto, and sundried tomatoes.

Equipment: skillet
  • Heat vegetable oil in skillet over medium-high heat
  • Spread goat cheese and sundried tomatoes over tortilla; put "bottom" tortilla in skillet
  • Immediately layer on prosciutto and provolone cheese slices and "close" the quesadilla with the "top" tortilla
  • Flip quesadilla several times until it's crispy and brown on both sides and the ingredients are melted
  • Remove from skillet and let cool slightly; slice and serve!
This entire process takes maybe 7 minutes; so you can feed your friends super-fast. Perfect for football games and late-night food!

Butternut Squash Lasagna

A great vegetarian option for the holidays or anytime. Freezes well.

1 T. Olive oil
2 Lb. Butternut squash (peeled, seeded, and cubed)
1/2 C. Water
3 Amaretti cookies
1/4 C. Butter
1/4 C. Flour
2 C. Whole milk
1 1/2 C. Whipping cream
3/4 C. Basil leaves
12 No-boil lasagna noodles
2 C. Mozzarella cheese
1 C. Goat cheese
1/3 C. Parmigiano Reggiano
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste

Equipment: food processor, blender, skillet, sauce pan, whisk, and 9x13 baking dish
Bakes at 375 degrees; see details for cook time
  • In large skillet, add olive oil, butternut squash, water, and salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or so until squash is soft, stirring occasionally.
  • In the meantime, melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat; add flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually add the milk and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • After mixture boils, reduce to medium heat and simmer until it thickens, whisking often (takes 5 mins or so). Lastly, whisk in the nutmeg and then cool the mixture somewhat.
  • Add 1/2 the sauce to a blender with the basil and blend until smooth; add basil mixture back to original mixture in the sauce pan. Stir until blended; add salt and pepper to taste.
  • When squash is ready, remove from heat and cool somewhat; add squash and Amaretti cookies to food processor. Blend until smooth. Season mixture to taste with more salt and pepper.
  • Grease your 9x13 pan. Layer lasagna as follows: layer of sauce, layer of 3 noodles, layer of butternut squash mixture, layer of mozzarella and goat cheeses. Repeat layering 2 - 3 times; whatever you prefer. Meter out ingredients accordingly.
  • Cover dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and remove foil; sprinkle the top with additional mozzarella and parmigiano reggiano. Continue baking for 15 minutes, until top is lightly brown and bubbly.
  • Let stand and cool before serving.

Javier's Salsa Verde

A Dallas favorite; obsession is more like it. This also makes a great alternate sauce for Enchiladas Verdes, though it's more tangy and spicy than traditional sauces for that dish; that's why we love it!

2 Lb. Tomatillos
2 Serrano peppers
1/4 C. Cilantro (removed from stalks)
1/4 White onion (small-ish)
1/2 t. Mexican oregano
1/2 t. Garlic powder
1/4 C. Sugar
2 oz. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t. Salt
1 t. Chicken base (liquid form)
2 oz. Corn oil

  • Boil tomatillos, serranos, and onion until tomatillos change color (they'll turn yellow)
  • Meanwhile, put all remaining ingredients (EXCEPT for the corn oil) into a blender or food processor
  • After veggies are boiled, drain and add all to blender or food processor
  • Blend until completely liquefied and smooth
  • Return mixture to pot, add the corn oil, bring to a boil over low-medium heat
  • Heat until a film forms over the top. You're supposed to skim off the film, but we have found it's not necessary which is good because it's sort of a pain in the butt
  • Serve hot
For the full Javier's experience, serve this with unsalted butter. Also, don't use Tostitos with this; it'll ruin it. Buy El Milagro or Xochitl brand chips if you can; they are super thin and perfect.