Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Shrimp in Saffron Broth and Couscous with Golden Raisins

Are you ready to try something new?  This is a great dish to try.  I am working my way through my Martha Stewart Dinner at Home cookbook.  My whole family enjoyed this dish (kids included).  Lets just get right to it!

Chop two cups fennel bulb and one cup carrots.  Heat a saute pan and add 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil, add the chopped veggies and 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads.  I got mine at Trader Joe's.  Cook for about 4 minutes. 

Season 1 1/2 pounds of peeled and deveined shrimp (about 21-25 count).  Add them to the pan and cook for one minute, then turn them over.  Add 1/2 cup dry white wine and 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock.

On another burner cook Israeli couscous.  Add golden raisins, salt, pepper and a tablespoon of unsalted butter.

Serve shrimp, veggies and broth over the couscous.


You can find the recipe's here:  www.marthastewart.com

Monday, August 30, 2010

Drunko Bunko Cakes....Margarita, Strawberry Daiquiri, and Guiness Chocolate Cake with Baileys

BUNCO!  What is it?  Well it's not for old ladies anymore!  I started a Bunco group in July of 2009 and it has become something we all look forward to every month.  It is a dice game...when we actually get to playing it.  It is a night for the girls to get together and eat, drink and gamble.  Our group puts in $10 each...that is where the gambling comes in.  We rotate houses every month and this month was my turn.  I couldn't resist making Bunco dice cakes loaded with alcohol.

The white die is a Margarita Cake.  The recipe came from RecipeGirl.com.  I made my own buttercream tequila frosting in addition to her tequila glaze.  And yes, it is awesome! 

The pink die is a Strawberry Daiquiri Cake.  I used Martha Stewart's white cake recipe from her Home Baking Handbook because originally I was going to make a White Russian Cake.  That will be posted in November for my Dad's birthday!  The Daiquiri Cake's frosting is a buttercream Bacardi frosting.  

The purple die is a Guinness Chocolate Cake with Baileys Frosting.  I made the Irish Car Bomb cupcakes from Annie's Eats for a previous party I had, but this time I found the cake recipe on the karott.com website under Guinness desserts.  Don't worry if you are not a Guinness fan, it doesn't taste like beer, it just adds a great, rich flavor to the cake.  I did use the frosting recipe from Annie's Eats for the Bailey's frosting, but doubled it since I made a cake.

Let's get started!

I know what you are thinking.  "You are making alcoholic cakes and your son is helping?"  Well the answer is yes.  He was in the baking mood so he helped me prepare the margarita cake.  Up until the alcohol got involved.  This is Marcus.  He is my youngest son and the one who bakes with me the most.

He creamed the butter and sugar for me in the mixer.  He is a pro at this step.

He also added the eggs, one at a time.  We cracked them into a separate bowl to be sure no egg shells got into the batter.

I zested the lemon.  He told me it was too stinky of a job.  I love the smell of lemon, so I was happy to help him out.

Juicing a lemons and limes takes muscle.  If you look at his face, you can see him straining to get all the juice out of that lemon.

He loves to use the measure all cup to push out the yogurt, so I filled it with lemon yogurt and he pushed it into the mixer and turned it on to mix all the ingredients.

I poured the batter into a 9 x 11 inch cake pan lined with buttered parchment paper.  Then put it into a preheated 350 degree oven to bake for 30 minutes.

While the cake was baking, I prepared the glaze and frosting.  The glaze is made of sugar, lime juice, water, and tequila.

Invert the cake onto a cooling rack.  Peel off the parchment paper.  Then brush the glaze onto the cake.

For the buttercream frosting I mixed 1 cup of butter, 3 cups of confectioners sugar, lemon juice and 6-8 tablespoons of tequila. 

I cut the cake into pieces to stack into the die shape.  (I am not a math whiz at all and this took me forever to figure out.  I would have measured them bigger if I knew how things would go.)

Now for the Guinness Chocolate Cake

In a heavy saucepan, heat butter, Guinness, and cocoa powder until butter melts. Let cool.

Sift dry ingredients together.

Add the eggs and sour cream and beat 2 minutes on medium speed.  Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

To prepare Baileys frosting mix 1 cup of butter, 3 cups of confectioners sugar, and 8-10 tablespoons of Baileys Irish Cream.

The white cake recipe can be found at www.marthastewart.com, I substituted 1/2 tsp Bacardi for the vanilla, and added 2 tablespoons daiquiri mix to the batter.

To prepare the Strawberry Daiquiri buttercream I mixed 1 cup of butter, 3 cups confectioners sugar, 7 tablespoons Bacardi, and 5 tablespoons of daiquiri mix.

For the dots I melted about one cup of Ghirardelli chocolate chips and spread it onto parchment paper.  Allow this to harden and then use an apple corer to punch out chocolate circles and just push them onto the cake. 

This shows the dice I modeled the cakes after.  Our Bunco group has a different color set of dice at each table.  I thought it would be cool to incorporate them all to one cake.

These are amazingly delicious!!!  I love them all, but especially liked making the the margarita cake...TEQUILA!  Enjoy making your own!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Roast Beef, Green Cabbage with Leek, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Crostini

Roast beef cooked medium rare has got to be on your menu very soon!  Oh my goodness was this delicious!  Extremely simple too.  I served it with Green Cabbage with Leek and some crostini.  I got these recipes from my favorite Martha Stewart Dinner at Home cookbook.  I am NEVER disappointed with these recipes.  

Start by seasoning your tied beef generously with salt and pepper.  Then sear it on all sides in an oven safe pan.  I used a stainless steel pan for this.

Peel and cut six small onions in half.

Once the meat is seared on all sides, add the onions cut side down to the pan.  Put into a preheated 375 degree oven for 35-40 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer reads 140 degrees.

Meanwhile, add 3 cups of chicken broth, 10 peppercorns, and one bay leaf to a large pot and bring to a boil.  Cut a head of green cabbage into eight pieces.  Cut up one small leak.  Add these to the boiling broth, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

For the crostini cut up a baguette and brush both sides with olive oil.  Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Slice one shallot and saute in olive oil for about 5 minutes.

Slice fresh mushrooms to add to the shallots.  I use an egg slicer for this.  It makes it very quick and easy, and the pieces are all uniform so they will cook evenly.

Here is what it looks like sliced with the egg slicer.

Add the mushrooms to the shallot.  Saute, then add salt and pepper.

Chop fresh chives to put on top.

Mushroom are ready. 

Spread the tops of crostini with goat cheese, add the mushroom mixture, then top with chives.  YUM!  These are so good!

Recipe Info:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Grilled Pork Paillards with Pasta Verde and Fresh Tomatoes

Flipping through the Martha Stewart Dinner at Home cookbook, this immediately caught my eye.  So, on my trip to Costco I got a stack of pork chops and started the recipe.  Here is what you need to get started.


Cut the fat off of the pork chops and pound out the meat to 1/4 inch thick.

Once they are flattened, mix balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

To get started on the dressing for the pasta, you add mustard, white wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. 

Cook pasta according to package directions, strain and add back to stock pot.

In the meantime, heat a pan with two tablespoons olive oil and then add onions.

Slice zucchini and wash snap peas to add to the onions.

Chop fresh spinach and scallions.

Add the zucchini and cook for three minutes, then add snap peas and cook for two more minutes.
Add the spinach and scallions.

Combine with pasta and season to taste.  I also added Parmesan cheese.

Heat the grill to medium.  (Betty, I took a picture of how hot Medium is on my grill.  WOW.  I lowered it a bit when I put them on the grill till it got to 500.)

Take pork out of the refrigerator and pat with a paper towel.

Cook on the grill for 1-2 minutes per side.
 Here are the grilled pork paillards.

Slice cherry tomatoes in half.

Give it a try.  Here is the link for the pork:  Grilled Pork Paillards 
The link for Pasta Verde is at:  Pasta Verde