Friday, May 31, 2013

Apple-Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

Prep / Total time: 4 hours  10 minutes    Makes 12 servings

1 (8-oz.)            package cream cheese, softened
1/4                     cup butter, softened
1/2                     cup granulated sugar
1                        large egg
2                        tablespoons all-purpose flour
1                        teaspoon vanilla extract
1                        cup finely chopped pecans
3                        cups all-purpose flour
1                        cup granulated sugar
1                        cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2                        teaspoons ground cinnamon
1                        teaspoon salt
1                        teaspoon baking soda
1                        teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2                     teaspoon ground allspice
3                        large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4                     cup canola oil 
3/4                     cup applesauce
1                        teaspoon vanilla extract
3                        cups peeled and finely chopped Gala apples (about 1 1/2 lb.)
1/2                   cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4                   cup butter
3                      tablespoons milk
1                      teaspoon vanilla extract
1                      cup powdered sugar

1.       Prepare Filling: Beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended and smooth. Add egg, flour, and vanilla; beat just until blended.
2.       Prepare Batter: Preheat oven to 350º. Bake pecans in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Stir together 3 cups flour and next 7 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in eggs and next 3 ingredients, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in apples and pecans.
3.        Spoon two-thirds of apple mixture into a greased and floured 14-cup Bundt pan. Spoon Cream Cheese Filling over apple mixture, leaving a 1-inch border around edges of pan. Swirl filling through apple mixture using a paring knife. Spoon remaining apple mixture over Cream Cheese Filling.
4.        Bake at 350º for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 2 hours).
5.        Prepare Frosting: Bring 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and 3 Tbsp. milk to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly; boil 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Gradually whisk in powdered sugar until smooth; stir gently 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture begins to cool and thickens slightly. Pour immediately over cooled cake.

This delicious apple bundt cake features a sweet cream cheese filling and homemade praline frosting. Garnish the frosting with extra toasted pecans.

Grilled Cheesy Corn

                                 Make as many ears of corn as you like

Ears of fresh corn
Melted butter
Chili powder
Smoked paprika
Grated Cotija or Parmesan cheese
Fresh lime wedges

1 .     Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat. Pull back husks from ears of fresh corn; remove and discard silks. Tie husks together with kitchen string to form a handle. Soak in cold salted water to cover 10 minutes; drain. Grill corn, covered with grill lid, 15 minutes or until golden brown, turning occasionally. Remove from grill. Brush corn with melted butter; sprinkle with salt, chili powder, smoked paprika, and grated Cotija or Parmesan cheese. Serve with fresh lime wedges
2 .        Chili powder, smoked paprika, and lime wedges give grilled corn a Southwestern touch. Brush with melted butter and cheese to complete this dish.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Orange-Glazed Strawberry Cupcakes

                                      Makes 12 servings

1-2/3              cups all-purpose flour
1-1/4              teaspoons baking powder
1/4                 teaspoon salt
8                    tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2/3                 cup sugar
1                    large egg plus 1 large egg white
8                    tablespoons (1/2 cup) orange juice 
1/2                 cup finely chopped fresh strawberries 
1                    cup confectioners' sugar  Make cupcakes: Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt.

1 .         Cream butter and sugar with a mixer on high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and egg white until well combined. With mixer on low, beat in half of flour mixture. Beat in 6 Tbsp. orange juice, then add remaining flour mixture and beat until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Gently fold in chopped strawberries.
2 .         Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each until almost full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes.
3 .         Make glaze: In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and remaining 2 Tbsp. orange juice until smooth. If glaze is too thick, stir in additional juice, making sure to add only 1 tsp. at a time, until you reach desired consistency. Glaze should be loose enough to spread easily on cupcakes, but not so thin that it drips.
4 .      Remove cupcakes from pan and top evenly with glaze. Let cool completely on rack, about 1 hour. Garnish each cupcake with a strawberry half, if desired.
Top strawberry-filled cupcakes with a sweet orange juice glaze and top with a fresh strawberry for brighr and cheery springtime dessert.

Spiced Pork with Bourbon Reduction sauce

Makes 4 serving (serving: 3 pork slices --2 tablespoons sauce)

1/2          cup bourbon 
1/4          cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4          cup low-sodium soy sauce
3             tablespoons cider vinegar
1-1/2       teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1/2          teaspoon black pepper
1/2         teaspoon chili powder
1/4         teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8         teaspoon ground allspice
1/8         teaspoon salt
1            (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
                    **Cooking spray**

1 .      To prepare sauce, combine the first 6 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 11 minutes), stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
2 .      To prepare pork, combine chili powder, cinnamon, allspice, and salt, stirring well; rub evenly over pork. Cut pork crosswise into 12 slices.
3 .      Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add pork to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Serve with sauce.

Pair pork tenderloin with sweet 'n' tangy bourbon sauce for a delicious 20-minute dinner.
Substitute chicken broth for bourbon (if you prefer), and serve with couscous or rice.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Herb-Roasted Pork Subs with Garlicky Spinach

Prep: 45 minutes        Total time : 3 hours  30 minutes  +overnight resting        Makes 8 subs
Pork:12                  garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1-1/2              teaspoons chopped rosemary
1                    teaspoon dried thyme
1                    teaspoon dried oregano
1                    teaspoon fennel seeds
1                    teaspoon crushed red pepper
1                    tablespoon kosher salt
1/4                 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1                    4-pound boneless pork shoulder roast
2                    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3                    garlic cloves, minced
1/4                 teaspoon crushed red pepper
20                  ounces baby spinach
8                    hero rolls, split
3/4                 pound sliced provolone
1                    cup jarred Peppadew peppers or sweet pickled Italian cherry peppers, chopped

1 .      Preheat the oven to 300°. In a small bowl, combine the garlic with the rosemary, thyme, oregano, fennel seeds, crushed red pepper and salt; stir in the olive oil. Rub the mixture all over the pork. Set the pork in a large, enameled cast-iron casserole and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Roast in the oven for about 2 1/2 hours, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 180°. Let cool, then wrap the pork in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
2 .        Preheat the oven to 450°. In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook over high heat until golden, 1 minute. Add the spinach in large handfuls and cook, stirring, until wilted, 3 minutes. Season the spinach with salt and transfer to a colander. Let cool slightly, then squeeze out the excess water.
3 .       Slice the cold pork very thinly, then let come to room temperature. Arrange the rolls on 2 baking sheets and mound the spinach on the bottom halves; layer the provolone on the top halves. Bake for about 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Pile the sliced pork on the rolls and top with the pickled peppers. Close the sandwiches and serve right away.

Make ahead the roasted pork can be refrigerated for up to 3 days before slicing.

Suggested Pairing:This tender pork calls for a rich red wine with smooth tannins, such as a Washington state Syrah.

Braised Pork with Cherry Gravy

Prep :1 hour     Total time : 4 hours + overnight chilling   Makes 6 servings

4           pounds boneless pork shoulder, tied
                **Salt and freshly ground pepper**
7           tablespoons vegetable oil
6           celery ribs, coarsely chopped
2           carrots, coarsely chopped
3           large onions, coarsely chopped
1/4         cup tomato paste
1            cup dry red wine
6            cups chicken stock or broth
1            cup dried sour cherries
2            large fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
2            large leeks, white and pale green parts, sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
1-1/2      cups heavy cream
1/4         cup grated young pecorino cheese
1/4         cup chives, cut in 1/2-inch lengths

1 .      Preheat the oven to 350°. Season the pork with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven, brown the pork in 2 tablespoons of the oil. Remove the pork; pour off the fat. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil to the pot. Add the celery, carrots and 2 onions and cook over moderate heat until golden, 15 minutes. Add the tomato paste, wine and stock; bring to a boil. Add the pork and cherries, cover and braise in the oven for 4 hours. Cool. Refrigerate overnight.
2 .       Skim the fat from the liquid and remove the pork. Boil the gravy until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, 25 minutes. Strain the gravy into a saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Untie the pork; slice into 6 medallions.
3 .       In a skillet, mix 2 tablespoons of the oil with the fennel, leeks and remaining onion. Cover and cook over moderate heat until softened, 7 minutes. Add the cream and simmer until thickened, 10 minutes. Add the cheese and chives, and season with salt and pepper.
4 .      In nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the pork and brown well. Serve with the gravy and vegetables.
Suggested Pairing:
Tart cherry–scented, medium-bodied Chianti.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pecan-Honey Buns

Prep : 30 minutes     Total time: 3 hours     Makes 12 buns

Dough:2-1/4       teaspoons active dry yeast
2              tablespoons granulated sugar
1              cup milk, warmed
4              tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for buttering
3              large egg yolks
2              tablespoons honey, preferably orange blossom or clover
1              teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3-1/2        cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1              teaspoon kosher salt
1/2          cup honey, preferably orange blossom or clover
1/2          cup packed light brown sugar
4             tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for brushing
1-1/2      cups pecans (6 ounces), coarsely chopped
3/4         cup packed light brown sugar
1            tablespoon cinnamon
6            tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 .    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the yeast with a pinch of granulated sugar and the milk and let stand until foamy, 5 minutes. Add the remaining sugar, the 4 tablespoons of melted butter and the egg yolks, honey and vanilla; mix until blended. Mix in the flour and salt. Switch to the dough hook and knead at medium speed until the dough forms a smooth ball, 4 minutes.
2 .       Brush a large bowl with butter. Add the dough and brush the top with butter. Cover and let stand in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
3 .       Butter a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. In a medium saucepan, melt the honey with the brown sugar and 4 tablespoons of butter over moderate heat until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Pour the hot honey mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the pecans.
4 .       In a bowl, mix the sugar with the cinnamon. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 12-by-18-inch rectangle. Spread the butter over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar. Starting at a long side, roll the dough into a log and turn it seam side down. Cut the dough into 12 slices. Arrange the slices, cut side up, in the baking dish. Cover and let stand in a warm place until the buns double in volume, about 1 hour.
5 .      Preheat the oven to 350°. Bake the honey buns for about 35 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Invert the buns onto a baking sheet and let cool slightly. Serve warm.

Baked Eggs with Chorizo & Potatoes

Prep : 30 minutes     Total :    45 minutes      Serves 8

2            pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes
1-1/2      pounds fresh chorizo, casings removed (see TIP)
1            large onion, finely chopped
2            tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
               **Salt and freshly ground pepper**
8            large eggs
              **Toast and hot sauce, for serving**

1 .     Preheat the oven to 375°. Put the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook over moderate heat until tender, about 25 minutes; drain and let cool. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 3/4-inch pieces.
2 .     Meanwhile, heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet. Add the chorizo, break it into chunks with a wooden spoon and cook over moderate heat, turning, until cooked through and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Scrape the chorizo mixture into a bowl and wipe out the skillet.
3 .        Heat the oil in the skillet. Add the potatoes, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until golden and crispy, about 6 minutes. Stir in the chorizo mixture. Remove the skillet from the heat.
4 .      Using a ladle, make 8 indentations in the potato-chorizo mixture about 1 inch apart; crack an egg into each one. Bake the skillet in the middle of the oven for about 12 minutes, or until the egg whites are just set but the yolks are still runny. Serve at once with toast and hot sauce.

Make ahead the potatoes can be boiled a day ahead and refrigerated.
Spicy fresh chorizo, which looks a lot like Italian sausage links, is available at Whole Foods markets and many Latin American food stores.

This hearty combination of crumbled chorizo, chunks of crispy potatoes and eggs—all cooked together in a big cast-iron skillet—is his Mexican-Californian twist on rösti, the classic Swiss fried-potato breakfast.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Chipotle-Sparked Mustard Salmon

Prep/Total time : 30 minutes             Makes 6 servings

6         salmon fillets (4 ounces each)
1/4      cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/4      cup prepared horseradish
1/4      cup stone-ground mustard
1/4      teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
1          teaspoon minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
 1        teaspoon snipped fresh dill

1 .       Place salmon in a foil-lined 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Combine the mayonnaise, horseradish, mustard, lemon-pepper and chipotle pepper; spread over fillets.
2 .     Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Sprinkle with dill. Yield: 6 servings.

Tips for Buying and Storing Fish:

When buying fresh fish fillets or steaks, look for firm flesh that has a moist look. Don't purchase fish that looks dried out. Whole fish should have bright clear eyes that are not sunken and a firm body that is springy to the touch. Fresh fish should have a mild smell, not a strong odor.

When buying frozen fish, look for packages that are solidly frozen, tightly sealed and free of freezer burn and odor.

Follow these guidelines for how much fish to purchase per person: about 1 pound whole, 1/2 pound pan-dressed or steaks and 1/4 to 1/3 pound fillets.

Fresh fish is highly perishable and should be prepared within a day or two after it is caught or purchased. Freshly caught fish should be pan-dressed, washed in cold water, blotted dry with paper towels, placed in an airtight container or heavy-duty plastic bag and refrigerated.

For long-term storage, wrap fish in freezer paper, heavy-duty foil or heavy-duty plastic bags and freeze no longer than 3 months for fatty or oily fish (such as salmon, whitefish, mackerel) or 6 months for lean fish (such as sole, catfish, cod, orange roughy).

Full-Bodied White Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a full-bodied white wine such as Chardonnay or Viognier

Pina Colada Cheesecake

Prep : 40 Minutes      Bake :1-1/4 hour + cooling    Serves 12

15              shortbread cookies , crushed
1                cup flaked coconut, toasted
3                tablespoons butter , melted
3                packages (8 ounces each) reduced-fat cream cheese
3/4             cup sugar
3/4             cup cream of coconut
3                tablespoons 2% milk
3/4             teaspoon rum extract
3                eggs lightly beaten
1/2            fresh pineapple , peeled and cored
3               tablespoons apple jelly
                     **Edible blossoms, optional** 

1 .       Place a greased 9-in. springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Securely wrap foil around pan.
2 .       In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs and coconut; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom of prepared pan. Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 325° for 8-10 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
3 .       In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the cream of coconut, milk and extract. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Pour over crust. Place springform pan in a large baking pan; add 1 in. of hot water to larger pan.
4 .       Bake at 325° for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until center is just set and top appears dull. Remove springform pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight.
5 .        Thinly slice pineapple; arrange on cheesecake. Warm apple jelly; brush over pineapple. Refrigerate until chilled. Just before serving, garnish with blossoms if desired. Yield: 12 servings.
Verify that flowers are edible and have not been treated with chemicals.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Browned Butter Bananas with Toasted Pecans

Prep : 15 minutes      Cook :10 minutes      Total : 25 minutes

1/2              cup powdered sugar
1/2              teaspoon ground cinnamon
           **Dash of ground cardamom**
2                 tablespoons milk 
2                 tablespoons light or dark rum 
1                 teaspoon lemon zest
3                 tablespoons butter 
3                 bananas, cut in half crosswise and lengthwise
1/2              cup pecan halves, toasted
            **Vanilla ice cream (optional) **
1.          Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl. Add milk, rum, and lemon zest; stir until smooth. Set aside.
2.         Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Cook 5 minutes, swirling pan until butter just starts to turn golden.
3.         Place bananas in butter, cut sides down, and cook 2 minutes. Turn bananas, and cook 1 minute. Divide bananas evenly among 4 serving plates.
4.         Pour reserved powdered sugar mixture into same skillet. Increase heat to medium; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove pan from heat; stir in pecan halves. Pour sauce evenly over bananas; top with vanilla ice cream, if desired.
Browning the butter adds a rich, nutty flavor to the sauce, but it's tricky to see in a dark, coated skillet. Use a stainless steel skillet to make sure the butter reaches a golden-brown hue without burning.

Classic Steak House Rubbed Filet Mignon

Makes 4 servings         Serving size  1 steak

2                     teaspoons black peppercorns
1/4                  teaspoon dried rosemary
1                     teaspoon dry mustard
3/4                  teaspoon kosher salt
1/2                  teaspoon garlic powder
4                     (4-ounce) beef tenderloin steaks, trimmed (1 inch thick)
                      **Cooking spray**
Prepare grill.
Place peppercorns and rosemary in a spice or coffee grinder; pulse until the pepper is coarsely ground. Combine pepper mixture, dry mustard, salt, and garlic powder; rub evenly over both sides of steaks. Place steaks on a grill rack coated with cooking spray, and grill 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Mixed Grilled Meats with Tomato & Pepper Salsa

Prep / Total time :1 hour plus overnight marinating      Serves 6

1             medium red onion, cut into 1/3-inch dice
1             medium tomato—halved, seeded and cut into 1/3-inch dice
1/2          red bell pepper, cut into 1/3-inch dice
1/2          green bell pepper, cut into 1/3-inch dice
1/2          yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/3-inch dice
3/4          cup extra-virgin olive oil
3             tablespoons fresh lemon juice
                          **Kosher salt**
                          **Freshly ground pepper**
2            tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1-1/2      pounds boneless leg of lamb roast
1-1/2      pounds flanken-cut beef short ribs (cut across the bones), about 1/2 inch thick
1-1/2      pounds fresh chorizo or hot Italian sausage

1 .     In a large bowl, combine the onion with the tomato, bell peppers, olive oil and lemon juice. Add a large pinch each of salt and pepper and mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Stir in the parsley and bring to room temperature before serving.
2 .     Light a grill. Season the lamb and short ribs with salt and pepper and let stand for 10 minutes. Grill all of the meats over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until the short ribs are browned and cooked through, about 12 minutes; the chorizo is cooked through, about 15 minutes; and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the lamb registers 130° for medium-rare, 25 to 35 minutes, depending on thickness. Transfer the meats to a platter to rest for 5 minutes.

Season the salsa once more with salt and pepper. Carve the grilled meats and serve the salsa alongside.
Suggested Pairing:
This impressive mixed grill is delicious with a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon.
To accompany this wood-roasted beef short ribs, leg of lamb and chorizo, it's served with a simple salsa, called criolla, which he makes by marinating tomatoes, onions and bell peppers overnight in lemon juice and olive oil. In addition to the grilled meats here, the salsa is excellent with any grilled fish or poultry.

Mediterranean Turkey Burgers

Makes 4 servings        (serving size: 1/2 stuffed pita half)

1/2                cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/4                cup (1 ounce) crumbled feta cheese
1                   tablespoon minced red onion
2                   tablespoons commercial pesto
1/4                teaspoon salt
1/4                teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1                   pound ground turkey breast
1                   garlic clove, minced
                             **Cooking spray** 
2                   cups arugula
2                  (6-inch) whole-wheat pitas, toasted and halved

1.        Combine first 8 ingredients in a bowl; mix until combined. Divide panko mixture into 4 portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick oval patty.
2.        Heat a nonstick grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add patties to pan; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. Place 1 patty and 1/2 cup arugula in each pita half.

Tzatziki sauce:
       Combine 1/2 cup plain low-fat, Greek-style yogurt; 1/4 cup finely chopped seeded cucumber; 1/4 teaspoon salt; and 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper. Serve with sliced bell pepper and celery sticks.

Serve a light and fresh turkey burger flavored with pesto and feta cheese. A spicy and creamy tzatziki sauce is great spread on the burgers or served on the side for dipping.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Million Dollar Pound Cake

                                 Makes 10 to 12 servings

1          pound butter, softened
3          cups sugar
6          large eggs 
4          cups all-purpose flour
3/4       cup milk 
1          teaspoon almond extract
1          teaspoon vanilla extract

1 .        Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. (The butter will become a lighter yellow color; this is an important step, as the job of the mixer is to incorporate air into the butter so the cake will rise. It will take 1 to 7 minutes, depending on the power of your mixer.) Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy. (Again, the times will vary, and butter will turn to a fluffy white.) Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow yolk disappears.
2 .      Add flour to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. (The batter should be smooth and bits of flour should be well incorporated; to rid batter of lumps, stir gently with a rubber spatula.) Stir in extracts.
3 .      Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. (Use vegetable shortening or butter to grease the pan, getting every nook and cranny covered. Sprinkle a light coating of flour over the greased surface.)
4 .        Bake at 300° for 1 hour and 40 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.
For the best results, preheat your oven to 300º before you begin. We also soften butter at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Crispy Fried Sweet Onion Rings

Prep / Total time :2 hours 30 minutes       Makes 6 servings

2                large sweet onions, cut into 3/8-inch-thick slices
3                cups buttermilk
                    **Vegetable oil **
2                cups all-purpose flour
1                cup plain yellow cornmeal
2                teaspoons table salt
1/2             teaspoon ground red pepper

1.          Separate onion slices into rings, and place in a 9-inch square baking dish. Pour buttermilk over onion rings. Cover and chill 2 to 24 hours.
2.          Pour oil to depth of 2 inches into a Dutch oven; heat to 360°.
3.          Stir together flour and next 3 ingredients in a shallow dish. Dredge onion rings in flour mixture, and place on a baking sheet. Discard buttermilk.
4.             Fry onion rings, in batches, 2 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels.

5.             Serve onion rings immediately, or keep warm in a 200° oven until ready to serve.
Store any leftover dredging mixture (from Step 3) in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Make sure your oil is hot enough, and that it comes back up to temp, before adding the second batch of onions.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Very Berry Summer Pudding

Total time :10 hours  15 minutes        6 to 8 servings

2                    cups sliced fresh strawberries 
2                    cups fresh cherries, pitted and halved
2                    cups fresh raspberries 
2                    cups fresh blackberries 
1                    cup fresh blueberries 
1/2                 cup sugar
1/4                 cup orange liqueur
3                    (3-oz.) packages soft ladyfingers
    **Garnishes: fresh berries, fresh mint sprigs **

1.           Stir together first 6 ingredients in a large, heavy stainless steel saucepan; let stand 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1/2 cup water, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes or just until berries begin to break down and release their juices. Remove from heat, and stir in orange liqueur; cool 20 minutes.
2.          Line a 2-qt. soufflé dish with plastic wrap. Spoon 1 cup berry mixture into prepared dish, spreading to cover bottom. Arrange ladyfingers in a single layer on berry mixture, pressing together and trimming as needed to fit snugly and cover berry mixture. Repeat layers twice, dividing remaining berry mixture evenly between layers.
3.         Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and place a small plate (approximately the same diameter as the inside of the dish) directly on top. Place 2 or 3 heavy cans on plate, and chill 12 hours. Unmold pudding onto a serving plate.
Serve this juicy showstopper with sweetened whipped cream, or dollop on extra tiramisù flavor by folding together equal parts sweetened whipped cream and mascarpone cheese.

Food for Thought

This weekend many of us  will be celebrating  the holiday with  an outdoor cookout . While most people picture  hamburgers  , hot dogs  or creamy potato salad , cookouts do not have to take you off track  with your nutrition plans .
Cooking can be healthy  , especially  when you have  a menu  that features  lean cuts  of meat , foods with  light  and favorful sauceds  and veggies  ans salads  that give  you a nutritional boost .
Here are a few tips  to help you have  a healthy  and flavorful cookout this weekend  and all summer long :

1 .    Marinate meats in low or no-fat dressing  and sauces . Opt for rubs  and dry seasoning instead .

2 .    Limit processed meats  like hot dogs , deli meats  and bacon . Look for lean meats , like 93 precent lean ground beef  for burgers  or skinless poutry  . Trim visible fats  from meats  before putting  them on the grill .

3 .    Grilled vegetables  are good  as rntrees and sides . Options  such as mushrooms , squash , onions  and peppers  are great  hearty flavors  that grill well .

4 .      Try lower-fat options  for salads . Add flavor  with pickle  or lemon  juice and herbs . For pasta  salads , try whole-wheat pastas . Try a new flavor  such as pesto or Dijon mustard  for a hearty twist .

5 .      Remember  to hydrate  well . Water with slices  of lemon , orange or other fruits  is your best bet  to avoid  unwanted calories  and dehydration .

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Raspberry- Lemon Cake

Prep : 1-1/4 hours + chilling    Bake : 20 minutes + cooling

3               eggs
3/4            cup sugar
1/2            cup lemon juice
1/4            cup butter , cubed
1               tablespoon grated lemon peel

1              package (3 ounces) lemon gelatin
1/2           cup boiling water
1/2           cup butter , softened
1/2           cup canola oil
1-3/4       cups sugar, divided
4             eggs
1/2          cup lemon juice
4             teaspoons grated lemon peel
1             teaspoon lemon extract
1             teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/2       cups all-purpose flour
2-1/2       teaspoons baking powder
1/2          teaspoon salt
1/2          cup evaporated milk
3/4          cup thawed lemonade concentrate
2             packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
6             tablespoons butter , softened
 4            cups confectioners' sugar
4-1/2      teaspoons lemon juice
1-1/2      teaspoons grated lemon peel
3/4         teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4         cup seedless raspberry jam
Fresh rasberries , optional 
1.       For lemon curd, in a heavy saucepan, beat eggs and sugar. Stir in the lemon juice, butter and lemon peel. Cook and stir over medium-low heat for 15 minutes or until mixture is thickened and reaches 160°. Cool for 10 minutes. Cover and chill for 1-1/2 hours or until thickened.
2.      For cake, in a small bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water; set aside to cool.
3 .      In a large bowl, cream beat butter, oil and 1-1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the gelatin mixture, lemon juice, lemon peel and extracts. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to the butter mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition.
4 .      Pour into three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
5 .       In a microwave-safe bowl, combine lemonade concentrate and remaining sugar. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Poke holes in warm cakes with a fork; pour lemonade mixture over cakes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
6 .      For frosting, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add the confectioners' sugar, lemon juice, lemon peel and vanilla; beat until blended.
7 .     To assemble, place one cake layer on a serving plate; spread with 6 tablespoons raspberry jam. Repeat. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread about 1/2 cup lemon curd over top of cake (save remaining curd for another use).
8 .      Spread frosting over sides of cake and pipe a shell border along the top and bottom edges. Garnish with raspberries if desired. Chill for 1 hour..

Sweet White Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a sweet white wine such as Moscato or a sweet Riesling.

Want a change from chocolate cake? Try this elegant lemon's packed with refreshing lemon flavor, from the cake to the homemade lemon curd and creamy frosting. It won a blue-ribbon at an Alaska State Fair and it's definitely a winner with my family.

Barbecued Sticky Ribs

Prep : 10 minutes    Bake : 1 hour 10 minutes     Serves 6 to 8

3/4                               teaspoon garlic powder
1                                  teaspoon salt
1/2                               teaspoon pepper
3-1/2 to 4-1/2              pounds porl spareribs (2 racks)

1           can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed tomato soup, undiluted
1           small onion , chopped
1           cup water
1/2        cup light corn syrup
1/2        cup ketchup
1/4        cup cider vinegar
2           tablespoons Worcestshire sauce
2           teaspoons chili powder
1           teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2        teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 .       Combine garlic powder, salt and pepper; rub onto both sides of ribs. Place in a single layer in a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan.
2 .       Bake at 325° for 30-35 minutes; drain. Combine sauce ingredients; pour over ribs. Bake 50-60 minutes longer or until meat is tender, basting occasionally. Cut into serving-size pieces. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Medium-Bodied Red Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a medium-bodied red wine such as Chianti, Sangiovese, Malbec or Zinfandel.
If you're really hungry, there's nothing like a rack of these ribs! They're a great summertime treat, but our family also traditionally enjoys them with side dishes of coleslaw and beans during the football games on New Year's Day.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Stuffed Pork Chops

Prep : 15 minutes             Bake : 1 hour         Servings : 4

1-1/2             cups chopped fresh mushrooms
4                   green onions, finely chopped
1/3                cup finely chopped celery
1                   tablespoon butter
1                   small tomato , chopped

1/4 to 1/2     teaspoon dried marjoram
1/8 to 1/4     teaspoon garlic salt
1/8               teaspoon pepper
2                  slices day-old bread , cut into 1/4-inch cubes
4                  bone-in pork loin chops (1 to 1-1/2 inch thick and 7 ounces each)

1 .       In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the mushrooms, onions and celery in butter until vegetables are tender. Add the tomato, marjoram, garlic salt and pepper; cook and stir for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in bread cubes.
2 .       Cut a large pocket in the side of each chop. Stuff mushroom mixture into pockets. Place chops in an ungreased shallow baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 1 hour or meat is no longer pink.

Medium-Bodied White Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a medium-bodied white wine such as Riesling or Gewürtztraminer

Sweet & Spicy Jalapeno Poppers

Prep/ Total time : 30 minutes           Makes 12 servings

6              jalapeno peppers
4             ounces cream cheese, softened
2             tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
6             bacon strips , halved width-wise
1/4          cup packed brown sugar
1             tablespoon chili seasoning

1 .    Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise and remove seeds; set aside. In a small bowl, beat cheeses until blended. Spoon into pepper halves. Wrap a half-strip of bacon around each pepper half.
2 .    Combine brown sugar and chili seasoning; coat peppers with sugar mixture. Place in a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan.
3 .    Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes or until bacon is firm. Yield: 1 dozen.

TIP: Wear disposable gloves when cutting hot peppers; the oils can burn skin. Avoid touching your face.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Take 10

Don’t fear the freshman 15.

Stock your dorm room fridge with healthy eats and treats to avoid slipping into unhealthy eating habits as you adjust to college challenges and a new routine. Keep these staples in your mini-fridge:

1. Low-fat cheese. Eat it alone or in quesadillas from the microwave.

2. Pre-washed and pre-cut colorful veggies for snacking. Got access to a kitchen? Toss some in a quick stir-fry.

3. Fruit. Keep fresh in the fridge and dried in an airtight container. Sprinkle dried fruit on your morning oatmeal and grab fresh for an afternoon snack.

4. Water. A water-filter pitcher instead of bottled water helps you save.

5. Nuts and nut butter.

6. Eggs. Scramble them in a microwave-safe bowl or mug. Toss in veggies and cheese for a variation on the classic omelet.

7. Fat-free or low-fat milk and yogurt. Jazz up yogurt with cinnamon and chocolate chips for a healthy dessert.

8. Hummus, great for snacking, doubles as a healthy sandwich spread.

9. Salsa. Make your own -- there’s sure to be someone in the dorm with a blender. Pair with whole chips or veggies.

10. You can add other foods, but read labels for total sugars, fats and calories.
Source: MyPlate