Saturday, January 30, 2010

Low-Fat Flan Custard

This is a simple flan custard that we have been making for  years.  The fat and calories have been reduced but, the taste and creaminess of the custard has not been compromised.

Low-Fat Flan Custard
Serves 6

1-1/3 cups sugar, divided
3/4 cup egg substitute
2- 12 ounce cans evaporated skimmed milk
1 teaspon vanila extract

Place one cup of sugar in a large heavy skillet over medium heat; cook 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves (do not stir). Continue cooking until golden, and then stir well. Pour into a 9-inch round cake pan, tipping quickly until the sugar coats bottom of cake and, set aside.

Combine remaining 1/3 cup sugar, egg substitute, vanilla, and milk; stir well. Pour into prepared cake pan; place in a large shallow pan. Add hot water to pan to a depth of 1-inch. Bake at 350 degrees F. for one hour or until knide inserted near center comes out clean. Remove cake pan from water; let cool one hour on a wire rack. Cover and chill four hours.

To serve, loosen edges of flan wth a knife or rubber spatula. Place a serving plate, upside down, on top of cake pan. Serve.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mint Patty Cakes

I love York Peppermint Patties. The dark chocolate covering of the peppermint filling is my favorite type of candy (along with nuts and caramel too). You could easily on any given day find peppermint patties in my freezer. They are delicious frozen.

These tasty cupcakes taste just like a York Peppermint Pattie. I wish I could take credit for making these delightful cupcakes but, the credit goes to my husband who made them because he knew I would enjoy them. I hope that you enjoy them too.

Mint Patty Cakes
Makes 24 cupcakes
Recipe from Food Network


For The Cupcakes
3 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
3-1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For The Topping
1 1-pound box confectioners' sugar (about 4 cups)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup vegetable shortening or cocoa butter, softened
2 teaspoons peppermint extract

For The Glaze
8 ounces-bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. Make the cupcakes: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 Degrees F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners. Put the butter, cocoa powder and 3/4 cup water in a medium microwave safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap and microwave until the butter melts, about 2 minutes. Whisk to combine, then whisk in the brown sugar.

2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in the warm cocoa mixture. In another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla; stir into the batter until just combined but don't overmix.

3. Divide the batter among the prepared cups, filling each about three-quarters of the way. Bake until the cupcakes spring back when touched, 30-35 minutes. Let cool in the pans 10 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

4. Make the topping: beat the confectioners' sugar, corn syrup, shortening and peppermint extract with a mixer until a tight paste forms. Gather into a ball, place between two sheets parchment paper and roll out to 1/4 inch thick ( microwave 15 seconds to soften, if necessary). Use a 2-1/2-inch round cutter or juice glass to cut into disks; reroll the scraps. Place a peppermint disk on top of each cupcake.

5. Make the glaze: put the chocolate, corn syrup, butter and 1/4 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic and microwave on 50 percent power until chocolate melts, about 2 minutes. Whisk to combine, then cool slightly. Spread glaze over peppermint topping, leaving some peppermint exposed. Referigerate until set, at least 20 minutes. Serve cold.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Baked Ziti

I realize that many of the great recipes I discover are from my fellow food bloggers. I have a folder that sits on top of my desk that is bulging with recipes that I want to experience. This recipe I found at  Fig Tree Appetizers I think what really sets this baked ziti apart is the basciamella sauce. A blend of butter, milk, flour and nutmeg. These ingredients when blended together produce a rich white sauce that is a key ingredient in many Italian dishes.

Baked Ziti
Recipe fom: Mario Batali
Recipe discovered on Fig Tree Appetizers

1 lb ziti , cooked al dente, drain and rinse under cool water
2 cups tomato sauce(note: If you use jarred pasta sauce, use high-quality)
2 cups besciamella (directions below)
1 lb. fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Basciamella Sauce
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
3 cups whole milk
1-2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the flour, stirring till light golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add milk to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking constantly. Cook till thickened, about 10 minutes, remove from heat. Season with salt and nutmeg, let cool.

Place drained cooked ziti in a large bowl. Add the tomato sauce, basciamella, mozzarella and Parmigiano to the ziti. Mix and stir well. Divide pasta into gratin dishes or a 9x13 baking dish. bake for 20 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Serve immediately.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Green Jalapeno Hot Wings

Chicken wings are a perfect party food and with Super bowl just around the corner, you need to go ahead and put these delicious wings on your list. These roasted buffalo-style chicken wings are covered in a spicy green jalapeno sauce, which is pureed with pickled jalapenos for an extra kick of heat.

Green Jalapeno Hot Wings
4-6 servings
Recipe from Food and Wine

5lb. chicken wings and drumettes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup green jalapeno hot sauce
2 tablespoon coarsley chopped pickled jalapenos
1 stick unsalted butter
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)
celery sticks for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F and position 2 racks in the middle and upper third. Spread the wings out on 2 baking sheets in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes, turning once, until wings are golden and crisp.

2. Meanwhile, in a mini-food processor, puree the hot sauce and pickled jalapenos until smooth. In a small saucepan, cook the butter with the garlic over moderate heat just until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the puree to the saucepan and bring to a simmer. Transfer the sauce to a large bowl. Rinse out processor.

3. Add the yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar and blue cheese to the processor and pulse until fairly smooth. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a small bowl.

4. Using tongs, transfer the chicken wings to the bowl with the hot sauce and toss to coat. Pour the wings and any extra sauce onto a large platter and serve right away, passing the blue cheese dip and celery sticks at the table.

Note: If you like this recipe, then you might enjoy the recipe for Sriracha Chicken wings that I posted earlier on January 7, 2010.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Winners of the Pay it Forward

Thanks to everyone who submitted a comment to participate in the Pay it Forward Food Blog Event. I used Random.Org to select three foodbloggers to receive a food package.

Congratulations to the following food bloggers:

1. Tomato Tots
2. All Our Fingers in the Pie
3. Travel Eat Love

4. I wanted to include My Year on the Grill Dave is an amazing backyard cook. He lives in Kansas which has a lot of great food for a foodie to discover.  I can only imagine the food packages he will share with his fellow bloggers.

Please contact me at with your mailing address. I will get your food packages out as soon as possible.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Southeast Asian Beef and Rice-Noodle Soup

Very similar to a Vietnamese pho, this soup creates a very meaty broth with short ribs and beef shanks simmering with ginger, garlic, chile, star anise and cinnamon. All of these ingredients come together with rice noodles to produce a fragrant tasting dish. This is perfect for a cold night or a party, because you can customize your bowl to your own taste with a spritz of lime, fiery Sriracha sauce and sweet hoisin, and some mint and cucumber.

Southeast Asian Beef and Rice-Noodle Soup
Serves 8-10 (Main Course)
Recipe from Gourmet

3 lb meaty beef short ribs
3 lb beef shank in 2 or 3 pieces
2 Tbsp peanut or vegetable oil, divided
1 large onion, sliced
2 (1-inch) pieces peeled ginger, smashed
1 bunch scallions, white parts smashed and green chopped
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 (4-inch long) fresh red or green chile, stemmed and halved lengthwise
2 qt water
1/4 cup soy sauce
4 whole star anise
1 (4-inch) cinnamon stick
14 oz dried flat Asian rice noodles

Accompaniments: mint sprigs; thinly sliced seedless cucumber; Sriracha and hoisin sauces; lime wedges

Pat meat dry. heat 1 Tbsp oil in an 8- to 10qt heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then brown meat in batches (do not crowd), about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to a platter.

Cook onion, ginger, white parts of scallions, garlic, and chile in remaining Tbsp oil in same pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 12 minutes.

Add water, soy sauce, star anise, cinnamon stick, and meat (with juices) and simmer, covered, until meat is tender but not falling apart, 2 to 21/2 hours.

Transfer meat with tongs to a cutting board. Discard bones and membranes, then cut meat across the grain into 1/2-inch pieces.

Strain broth through a sieve (cheese cloth works well) lined with a double layer of dampened paper towels set into a large saucepan. Discard solids. Skim off fat. Season broth with salt, then return meat to broth and reheat.

Meanwhile, add noodles to a 4-qt pot of unsalted boiling water and let stand off heat, covered until softened, 4 to 8 minutes. Drain and divide among large soup bowls. Add scallion greens and ladle in

Note: Soup without noodles, can be made 3 days ahead. Chill meat in broth (covered once cool). remove any solidfied fat before reheating.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pay It Forward

 Kevin from Closet Cooking was participating in a food blogging event called Pay it Forward. This event provided a wonderful opportunity for fellow food bloggers to be randomly selected to receive a food package from the blog event host containing food goodies.

Food bloggers are from all over the world, and different regions of the United States and Canada. This was such a fun way to discover and experience new foods.

In December, I left a comment on Kevin's blog. To my surprise, I was a lucky recipient. I was excited! A short time later, I received a food box from Kevin that contained a variety of Canadian specialities.

 Now, it's my turn to recipricate. If you are interested in participating, the rules are simple.  Leave a comment on this post.  I will randomly select 3 comments from this post on January 20, 2010.  The commenters agree, if they are selected, that they will host Pay it Forward and pass along the opportunity to three other food bloggers to enjoy within one year.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Blueberry Buttermilk Cake

A simple buttermilk cake topped with a sugary crunch. We like it as it is, full of blueberries, but you could easily substitute any sweet, juicy berries you enjoy.

Blueberry Buttermilk Cake
Serves 6
Recipe from Gourmet

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup fresh or frozen (if frozen, drain)  blueberries or other berries ( 5-ounces)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. with rack in middle. Butter and flour a
9-inch round cake pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes, then beat in vanilla. Add egg and beat well.

At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.

Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Scatter blueberries (or other berries) evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar.

Bake until cake is golden and wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Cool in a pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minues more. Invert onto a plate.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sriracha Chicken Wings

I discovered this wonderful recipe for chicken wings while perusing, as I often do, Chris's Nibble Me This If you are looking for a great chicken wing recipe, then you need not go any further. This is a perfect party food, that is so tasty and delicious that you should be prepared to make a double batch. These wings will disappear fast. We recently made a large batch of these wings to enjoy with friends while watching the Florida Gators vs. The Cincinnatti Bear Cats go helmet to helmet in the Sugar Bowl. Go Gators!

Sriracha Chicken Wings
Recipe from Nibble Me this

12 each of chicken wingettes, and drumettes
2-3 tablespoons of a good seasoning rub (I used Emeril's Essence) Chris uses his Poultry Perfect Rub
1 cup Apricot-Pineapple Preserves
1 ounce brown sugar
1 ounce honey
1 ounce sriracha sauce (easily found in the Asian section of your grocery store)
1 tablespoon finely diced green onion

Season drumettes and wingettes with the poultry rub.

The "cooking part" is easy. You're using a 30-20-10 method for fire roasting wings. Indirect heat set up on a grill cooking at 350-375 degrees F. Cook at 30 minutes, flip the chicken. Cook 20 more minutes.

While the wings are cooking, mix the preserves, sugar, honey, green onion and sriracha sauce over medium heat until blended. Remove the chicken from the grill and toss into sauce. Return the chicken back to the grill and cook 10 more minutes until it crisps.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Honey Roasted Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Pecans and Apricots

Happy New Year to you and your family. We rang in the New Year with friends and raised our glasses to honor the year behind us and to symbolize a new year of tomorrows. Great friends, food and cheer-It just does not get any better.

My husband prepared a wonderful Honey Roasted Pork Tenderloin stuffed with pecans, apricots and drizzled with a Blue Cheese Cream Sauce. The tenderloin was served alongside Creamed Cabbage with bacon and crisp sliced potatoes. For dessert he prepared a fresh homemade coffee ice cream. I know some of you may be thinking, it's too cold to eat ice cream. My response...It's never to cold to eat homemade ice cream.

This pork tenderloin recipe is elegant, fun to do, and easy to prepare.

Honey Roasted Pork tenderloin Stuffed Pecans and Apricots
Serves 6
Recipe from: Savannah Seasons
Note: We doubled the recipe to serve 12.

2 pork tenderloins, each about 1-1/4 lbs, silver skin trimmed away.
1 recipe Honey Hoisin Marinade for Roasted Pork (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup minced shitake mushrooms
1/2 cup minced toasted pecans
1 slice whole wheat bread, minced
8 dried apricot halves, minced
2 tablespoons minced blue cheese (1 ounce)
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1 teaspoon hot chili sauce
1 recipe Blue Cheese Cream Sauce (recipe follows)

Place the tenderloins side by side in a shallow dish. Spoon the marinade over them, cover, and refrigerate to combine flavors for 6 hours or overnight. Turn the pork once during this period. Remove the pork and discard the marinade. Cut 2 inches from the tip of each tenderloin and mince this meat.

In a skillet over high heat, combine the oil and the minced pork tips. Saute until light brown, about 5 minutes, then add the mushrooms and continue to saute for 2 minutes more. Set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, combine the pecans, bread crumbs, apricots, blue cheese, thyme, and chili sauce, then mix in the cooled pork and mushroom mixture, including any accumulated juices.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Oil a baking pan with low sides. With the handle of a wooden spoon, push a hole into the center of each tenderloin lengthwise from end to end. Stuff each tenderloin. The meat will expand to accomodate the stuffing as you gently press it into the center. Set the tenderloins on the baking pan. (A foil or baking parchment lining will protect the pan). Roast the pork 25 minutes, until the juices run clear when the meat is pierced with a knife. Cool for 5 minutes before slicing to serve. Drizzle with Blue Cheese Cream Sauce.

Honey Hoisin Marinade for Roasted Pork
Yields 3/4 cup
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger

In a cup, combine all the ingredients. Set aside until ready to use.

Blue Cheese Cream Sauce
Yields 1/2 cup
1/4 cup vermouth or white drinking wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (about 1 ounce)

In a small saucepan over medium heat, simmer and reduce the white wine or vermouth to about 2 tablespoons. Whisk in cream and reduce to about 1/3 cup. This will take about 4 minutes. Remove the pan from direct heat and place it in a skillet of hot water. Whisk in blue cheese, whisking until the sauce is smooth, about 1 minute. Keep warm in the skillet of hot water or in a Thermos until ready to serve, up to 2 hours.

Creamed Cabbage with Bacon
Serves 6
Recipe from Savannah Seasons

2 slices bacon, crisp cooked and minced
2 ounces country ham or prosciutto, minced
1/2 cup minced onion
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
7 cups shredded green cabbage leaves
1/2 cup heavy cream

To a large soup pot over medium heat, add first the bacon, then the ham, onion,ginger and finally the cabbage. Pour the cream over all and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally after the first 5 minutes, to soften the cabbage and reduce the liquid to a thick sauce. The volume of cabbage will reduce considerbaly. It is not necessary to add water because the cabbage is full of moisture and cooks beautifully in its own juice with a bit of cream.