5/30/15

Raspberry Vinaigrette

My idea of a perfect salad dressing is a vinaigrette, and nothing can jazz up a salad quite like a Raspberry Vinaigrette. This dressing is tangy and not too sweet, but the sugar can be increased in this recipe for those who prefer a sweeter dressing.





Raspberry Vinaigrette

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup raspberry vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a jar, combine olive oil, vinegar, and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add mustard, oregano, and pepper. Cover with a tight fitting lid and shake until all ingredients are combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.






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5/27/15

The Bow Cake and Other Cool Cakes My Sister Made

First of all, I have to say this beautiful cake is not my creation. My sister made this cake for my birthday this year. She does amazing cakes that are not only beautiful, they are delicious too. This one is strawberry with cream cheese frosting. The frosting has been overlaid with fondant. The bow and other decorations are also made from fondant.




For the bow, she cut uniform strips of fondant. These were folded, and the ends were glued together with edible glue. She made her glue by mixing fondant and water. These were allowed to dry before the assembly. The little squiggle pieces were formed by wrapping a thin strip of fondant around a wooden skewer to shape, then allowing to dry. The circle shapes were cut from fondant with various sizes of round cookie cutters. The border was made by shaping tiny fondant balls.



Some additional awesome cakes she has recently made for other family birthdays:








Each cake is very creative and detailed, but I think the Minecraft cake takes the prize for having the most parts. There must be hundreds of tiny squares of fondant on this huge cake. I love all her cakes and wanted to share these for others who might be interested in cake decorating.



Minecraft cake




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5/21/15

Glazed Cherry-Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins

If muffins were people this one would be one of my best friends. These muffins have many of the traits one would want in a friend.  They're sweet, but not overly so. They're a little nutty, but only in a good way. They're warm and inviting. They're not too simple, not too complex. They're a good companion at breakfast or at tea. Say hello to my friend, Glazed Cherry Oatmeal Muffins.






Print Recipe

Glazed Cherry-Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins

1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup old fashioned oats

Glaze

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a muffin pan by greasing or use paper liners.
In a small bowl, combine pecans and cherries. Toss with 1 tablespoon flour until coated. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine butter and sugar. Stir in milk and egg. Whisk together remaining flour, baking powder, salt, and oats. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, stir until combined. Fold nut mixture into batter. Spoon batter into prepared pan, filling cups almost full. Bake for 20 - 22 minutes. Makes 9 muffins.

To make glaze:  In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. Stir together until smooth. Drizzle over cooled muffins.







For more delicious cherry bread and muffin recipes:

Cherry Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins
Cherry Oatmeal Muffins
Cherry Pie Muffins
Cherry-Wheat Germ Muffins
Dried Cherry Cardamom Bread


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5/16/15

Dark Chocolate Mint Julep Pie

I'm a believer of the adage 'failure is never final', and it especially applies to mishaps in the kitchen. After much recipe scrutiny, I set my sights on a Dark Chocolate Mint Julep Pie for my birthday treat this year. Long story short, my birthday pie ended up in the trash. It looked quite lovely, but the taste was not good.

My taste buds were sure they knew how a Dark Chocolate Mint Julep Pie should taste, so not to be defeated, I tried again. This time I made a number of changes to the recipe. Fortunately, failure really isn't final, and the pie was wonderful on the second try.





Print Recipe

Dark Chocolate Mint Julep Pie

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
3.5 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped (I used Moser Roth 85%)
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon mint extract
1 tablespoon bourbon
2 tablespoons butter
1 prepared graham cracker crust
3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips, for garnish
Whipped cream, optional

In a double boiler, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in milk and cream. Cook and stir over medium heat, adding the chocolate a little at a time. Continue to cook and stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is thickened. Stir a small amount of the hot mixture into the egg yolks, then add the yolks to the chocolate mixture. Cook and stir about 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Add mint extract, bourbon, and butter; stir until well combined. Cover the hot mixture with plastic wrap and allow to cool. When cooled, pour into prepared crust. Refrigerate until set. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips on top and serve with whipped cream, if desired.






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5/12/15

Candied Mint Leaves

Over the past couple of weeks I've been going through dessert recipes, searching for something really yummy to make for my birthday. I came across a recipe I want to try that sounds almost too wonderful - Dark Chocolate Mint Julep Pie. The pie is rich with milk, eggs, and heavy cream, plus it combines dark chocolate with a touch of bourbon. This sounds like a dessert worthy of a birthday to me. The recipe suggested garnishing the pie with candied mint leaves. Since I had never made candied mint leaves, this in itself piqued my interest. The pie is yet to be made, but with the birthday is right around the corner, I decided to test out the mint leaves.







Print Recipe

Candied Mint Leaves

Fresh mint leaves
1 egg white, slightly beaten
3 tablespoons sugar
1 drop mint extract

Prepare the mint leaves by removing from the stem. Using your fingers, gently rub the egg white onto each leaf. Lay the leaves out on a sheet of parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine sugar and mint extract, mixing well. Sprinkle or sift the sugar mixture over the mint leaves. Allow to dry. When crisp, the mint leaves are ready to use.








My original purpose in making these candied mint leaves was for garnishing the chocolate dessert, but now I'm also thinking how great they would be in a pitcher of LEMONADE. Actually, a Dark Chocolate Mint Julep Pie served with lemonade and candied mint leaves sounds like a great plan for a birthday party.


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5/9/15

Sourdough Biscuits

Those who like sourdough bread will probably find sourdough biscuits to their liking, as well. I've tried different recipes for sourdough biscuits and have found this simple one gives great results. I used my sweet sourdough starter in this recipe.








Print Recipe

Sourdough Biscuits

1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
1 cup sourdough starter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare a baking pan by lining with parchment paper. In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add butter and use a pastry blender to cut in until mixture is blended and crumbly. Stir in sourdough starter. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead several times. Roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness and use a biscuit cutter to cut biscuits. Place biscuits on prepared pan. Bake for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 8 biscuits.






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5/5/15

Cilantro Lime Salsa for Cinco de Mayo

This morning when my husband and I had our usual, "what do you want for dinner tonight" discussion, he asked me to make Mexican Chicken. Hmmm, appropriate, I thought, since today is Cinco de Mayo. I have his Mexican Chicken in the oven, but I decided it wouldn't be much of a celebration without some salsa. This recipe is quick and easy to make, and I love it because it's so chunky. I know there are two camps of salsa lovers, the chunkies and the runnies. I am definitely on the chunky team (no snide comments here, please)! Runny salsa is not my thing. Who wants to dip a tortilla chip in tomato juice? Not me. If you're on the chunky team with me, then this Cilantro Lime Salsa is the perfect way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.



Print Recipe

Cilantro Lime Salsa

2 (14.5 ounce) cans fire roasted tomatoes, drained (or regular diced tomatoes, if you prefer)
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, garlic and jalapeño. Add lime juice, salt, and cilantro; mix well. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Serve with tortilla chips.






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