A Dabble in Food and Color

Ginger cinnamon rolls from scratch compliments of my sister 
Basically she showed up early saturday morning bearing wonderful bountiful gifts of cinnamon rolls and smiles. Perfect start to a homework non-leaving the house ever weekend. and YUM

Recipe as promised….
I believe from this blog
http://www.bakedbyrachel.com/2012/12/overnight-gingerbread-cinnamon-rolls/

Ginger cinnamon rolls from scratch compliments of my sister 

Basically she showed up early saturday morning bearing wonderful bountiful gifts of cinnamon rolls and smiles. Perfect start to a homework non-leaving the house ever weekend. and YUM

Recipe as promised….

I believe from this blog

http://www.bakedbyrachel.com/2012/12/overnight-gingerbread-cinnamon-rolls/

Brie Turkey burger sliders - Ground turkey with basil kneaded into the ground meat and Brie
What a delicious night

With a week off from school it was a time to try some new recipes,

Above is a photo of a cauliflower substitute for Alfredo  and an awesome slower cooker artichoke recipe. 

Fettucini Alfredo with Cauliflower

Author: Pinch of Yum
Prep time:  15 mins
Cook time:  15 mins
Total time:  30 mins

Serves: 8
 

INGREDIENTS

1 lb. uncooked fettuccine noodles
3 small heads cauliflower
6 cups vegetable broth
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup heavy cream
1 cup starchy boiling water from pasta pot

INSTRUCTIONS

Chop the cauliflower. Bring the vegetable broth to a boil over medium high heat and add cauliflower. Cook until cauliflower is soft, about 15 minutes. In my experience, the longer you cook it, the smoother the sauce will be. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and saute for 4-5 minutes or until soft and fragrant.
As the garlic and cauliflower are cooking, bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the fettuccine according to directions on package, reserving some of the starchy water to add to the sauce later.
Transfer cauliflower to a blender with about 2 cups of the broth. You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your blender. Add the sauteed garlic, salt, nutmeg, and black pepper and puree until very smooth, about 5 minutes. Once the mixture is moving, stream the olive oil into the blender. Add more broth or water if the mixture is too thick to move through the blender. You want it to turn through the blender easily. When puree is very smooth, transfer back to the butter/garlic skillet.
Add the cream and cook over low heat. Add the starchy pasta water (or regular water if you’re not making pasta) and keep warm until ready to serve. Combine noodles and sauce in a large pot or skillet and serve immediately.

NOTES
The sauce will “dry out” a little bit as it cools on the pasta. Adding a little water to the leftovers will help make it creamy again. Serving size is ⅛ of the noodles with about 1 cup of sauce.

 

Crock Pot Artichokes

This is a super easy recipe, 

Trim artichoke stem (it is an edible part of the vegetable, but for this method it must be trimmed short)
– Trim top inch off artichoke; heart will be exposed.

– Rub halved lemon over exposed artichoke heart to prevent browning
– Open up petals to spread apart the artichoke & better expose the heart
– place artichokes into crock pot & squeeze lemon juice evenly over the top
– Drizzle Olive Oil over artichokes

– salt artichokes & top with garlic
Pour approximately 1 cup of white wine into bottom of crock pot – add water until there is a 2-inch depth of liquid in the base of the slow cooker.  The bottom 1/4 of the artichoke can be covered in the liquid.
– cover with lid & cook on high for 4 hours (smaller artichokes will cook in 3 hours – remember, I used jumbos!)

Notes: 
Artichokes are finished when a knife can easily slide into the bottom-side stem.  Similar concept to inserting a knife into a fully-cooked baked potato.

Crock pot artichokes are delicious enjoyed “as is” / without adding anything. We also got the great idea of cooking a few at a time and saving them to eat throughout the busy week.

This weekend was one of the first non-homework for some time and we celebrated properly by making a crepe cake for a friend’s birthday. Said friend had requested such a cake some time ago and I have been secretly plotting ever since the boy’s Grandma came from Serbia and taught him how to make crepes. He properly told me of this instance to sound really advanced in the kitchen, and he did I was impressed I know no-one that can make them other than the gourmet food truck crepe-ville or whatever. Well little did he know that since he shared this I have been waiting for the opportune occasion to bust out this cake.

As with anything I make this looked better in my head, and this time around his head as well. It’s a bit of an eye sore but it went over well and everyone enjoyed it. 

The filling was good but needed to be tripled for the amount of crepes, I think we calculated it was about 79 total.

Ingredients: Crepes

- ⅔ cup flour

- ⅓ cup cold water

- 2 eggs

Mix in a bowl and pour 1/4 batter in pan for each crepe. I noticed there is a bit of an art to is first off you pour the batter around in the pan so it covers evenly. You also want to pick a pan that is the ideal size of what you want your crepe to be. After about a minute of cooking you are ready to flip. If you are like me and not great at this, use a knife to loosen it around the edges and grab and flip. 

Raspberry Curd

- 6 oz pack of washed raspberries

- 1 Handful of strawberries

- ¼ cup sugar

- 1 tb cornstarch

- 1 tb lemon juice

- 2 egg yolks

- ¼ stick butter

Start off by pureeing the raspberries in your blender or food processor. Then, combine raspberries, sugar, and cornstarch in a heavy bottomed saucepan and heat on the stove at medium low heat. Add in the egg yolks and lemon juice. Cook for 7-8 minutes on medium low heat until it thickens. When it thickens to a paste-like texture, remove from the heat and add in the butter. Swirl the butter around till it’s completely immersed in the curd.

Note: I pulled a me and the cornstarch I substituted with 2.5 tb of flour, I added the handful of strawberries it was about a basket full. 

It ended up being a full adventure and I learned that flipping a crepe is all in the wrist, who would have thought? 

It’s no secret that this past week was a hard one for nearly everyone in the US. Bad news week all around. My darling sister was just as affected by the week In terrible news so she baked world peace cookies. They were delicious chocolate chunk cookies. Thought I would share the photo and card since I’m sure it was a hard week for all…

It’s no secret that this past week was a hard one for nearly everyone in the US. Bad news week all around. My darling sister was just as affected by the week In terrible news so she baked world peace cookies. They were delicious chocolate chunk cookies. Thought I would share the photo and card since I’m sure it was a hard week for all…

Today the boy decided to make some eating changes, so I felt like it was as good a time as any to try out some new recipes. We had Zucchini Fritters and Spinach Wheat Mac n Cheese, Arugula Salad.

First off the Fritters

The recipe was compliments of the Fage website, my only change was omitting the chili, using a red onion instead of shallot and baking them for 10 minutes on 400’ instead of frying them in the pan. Key here is to get the water out of the zucchini. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 1/2 small shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 green chili, very finely chopped (use more if you like it hot)
  • 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs, made homemade bread
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/4 cup strong farmhouse cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ tsp cooking salt
  • Freshly milled black pepper
  • 2/3 cup FAGE Total Greek Yogurt

Preparation Directions:

  1. Grate the zucchini and squeeze the moisture out by hand. Place in a large bowl.
  2. Chop and fry the shallots and spring onions in hot oil until translucent. Add the green chili and remove from heat.
  3. Add the shallots, spring onion and chili to the zucchini and then add the bread crumbs, beaten egg, cheddar cheese, cilantro, salt and pepper. Mix well with a fork. Form into patties with your hands, flattening slightly.
  4. Fry patties in olive oil in a nonstick frying pan on medium heat, turning a couple of times until cooked through, golden and slightly crisp on the outside.

Additional Notes:

To serve, plate and garnish with a spoonful of FAGE Total Greek Yogurt.

Spinach Mac

Ingredients:

About two cups of whole wheat pasta

Sauce
  • 1 Spoonful of Greek Yogurt
  • 1/4 a cup of mozzarella
  • 1 Pinch of feta to sprinkle over the top at the end
  • Whole Wheat Pasta
  • 1 Egg white as a binding agent for the cheese sauce
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • A Pinch of Spinach

Preparation Directions:

  1. In a sauce pan mix the yogurt, cheese, garlic, spinach  Bring to a boil and then mix in the egg white
  2. Bring the pasta to boil as well. While pre-heating the over to 400’
  3. Mix everything into a pirex and sprinkle the top with the feta
  4. Cook for 10 minutes and then ready to serve

I also served it with an arugula and heirloom tomato salad with lavender balsamic and oil

It was all easy aside from the fritters, and very delicious.

Our first attempt big kid holiday hosting was 2013 Easter. We embarked on this extremely excited maybe even a bit shocked we would be trusted with a whole holiday and each of us had our hearts set on gorging our faces and having a house full of friendly faces.

The first thing that comes to my mind with this holiday in particular is colors, lots and lots of pastel colors and that is exactly what we went off of. My grandma always told us all that presentation is everything and thus my mind went immediately to decorating and getting as many flowers as possible to put in every empty space, and the boy’s mind went to the food. This ended up to be the perfect team. I posted as many pictures as I remembered to take, yet I failed at taking a picture of the actual meal table, so instead enjoy browsing through our appetizers. I also snuck in a picture of my cat, because she’s adorable and love’s decorations too… in particular eating the flowers.

We made Sangria, deviled eggs, grilled zucchini pesto bites, beans, an arugula cucumber watermelon feta salad (wow big breath), baked brei, and probably many other things I’m forgetting. 

Things we learned from this experience… Don’t try new recipes, and my following a recipe is not the best answer, surprise. Case and point those nifty zucchini bites mentioned above…. I will post the recipe and I would suggest scrapping it and adding garlic onion and skipping the lemon, but hey I’m a garlic gal so that’s just me. 

Sangria

  • This was super Easy, got a classy box of rose franzia 
  • 1 Liter of Lemonade
  • 1 can of 7up
  • Sliced lemon and strawberries
  • Ice
  • Mix it up and voila.

Grilled Artichoke Pesto Zuchini Bites

Again not our fave but adorable idea and worth mentioning because it can be done again with different pesto filling. Note to self: add more garlic, onion, olive oil and skipping the lemon zest and juice. Or even filling it with hummus would have been good.

  • 2 lbs zucchini (about 2-3 large zucchini)
  • 9 oz package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and squeezed of excess water
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • the leaves of half a bunch of parsley (about a cup)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 oz parmigiano reggiano, grated (about 1/2 cup)

Directions:

Cut the stem off the zucchinis, then use a mandolin to slice them into long thin ribbons. They should be about 1/8 inch thick, if they’re too thin they won’t stand up on the own, but if they’re too thick, they won’t be flexible enough to roll. Give each one a little sprinkle on both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat the grill to high, and do a quick sear of the zucchini. Since they are really thin, they should only be on the grill for about 30-60 seconds, just enough to take the raw edge off and give them some pretty little grill marks. Remove the grilled zucchini ribbons to a plate.
In a food processor, throw in the artichoke hearts, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, walnuts, and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Let the food processor run for a good 20 seconds, until everything is chopped up, and be sure to stop and scrape down the sides from time to time. With the food processor running, stream in the olive oil. Scrape the pesto out into a bowl, and stir in the grated parmesan. Taste it to check for proper seasoning.
Place a spoonful of artichoke pesto into each zucchini ribbon, and roll it up into a little roll. The artichoke pesto is sticky so it’s easy to stuff and roll up and have it stay together.

Brie Rollup

  • 1 thing of Pillsbury crescent Rolls rolled out flat and dusted with egg white
  • a bit of apricot marmalade 
  • 1 roll of brie 
  • Cooked for 12 minutes on 375, again with the following the recipe I shouldn’t have and I should have gone with my gut and brushed it with olive oil on the bottom because it stuck and ended up being a bit of a hot mess. Live and learn it was still good and, next time it will be perfect!

Watermelon Feta Salad

  • Sliced Watermelon chunks
  • sprinkle feta
  • and arugula
  • Sliced cucumber

I’m purposely not putting the amounts because really it’s all eyeballing and it depends on how much you want. We ended up using half a watermelon but we we’re feeding 10 people. It’s a very refreshing salad perfect for summer, but also a bright color to add to the table.

Pastel Deviled Eggs

Made just like your every run of the mill deviled eggs, but to color them I put a splash of cider vinegar in three different cups, and two to three drops of food coloring. let the hard boiled and already halved eggs soak for a few minutes and then took them out to fill. We added bacon bits and jalapeño into ours because the boy likes spicy. 

In the photo’s above you probably see my sisters pansy shortbread cookies, and chocolate covered strawberries. I don’t have the recipe on those but they were a beautiful addition and I’m eating some of them as I write this post. Thank goodness for leftovers.

Along with that we had a Golden Baked Ham, and My Easter staple of twice baked potatoes. It was a fabulous time, though looking back I feel like I spent less time enjoying it and more time watching it occur from the outside. Regardless it felt amazing to be able to have everyone over and it was delicious food. AND the aftermath we are left with some leftovers but more importantly plenty of daffodils. So I can’t complain. I think my grandma would have been happy with the presentation. Happy Easter all. Now counting down for our trip up north to celebrate again on Orthodox Easter.

Today I am missing this little fella more than usual. My 15 year old cairn terrier puppy, passed away about a month ago. Gosh I miss those slobbery kisses and the claw-filled nudge for more attention.

Today I am missing this little fella more than usual. My 15 year old cairn terrier puppy, passed away about a month ago. Gosh I miss those slobbery kisses and the claw-filled nudge for more attention.

In honor of St Patricks day and since having time to cook the “traditional meal” I opted instead to create a green pot pie.
It was meant to be a surprise but once a certain black cat hopped on my lap I needed assistance checking it and getting it out of the oven.
I made this with the help of kroger pre made crust (thank you kroger for saving me time)
two crusts
inside is filled with brocoli, cauliflower, eggplant, tomato, potato, cabbage, carrots, squash, garlic, onion, and basil. All of which I threw in at random so there is not method to my madness there. I just sautéed it in a skillet all together added in two cups of chicken stock. 
In another pan I mixed a few small handfuls of whole wheat flower with whole milk to make the cream filling and eventually added that to the sautéed veggies. I then added salt, pepper, and even thyme. Poured it all together in the crust and voila. 
I cut the 3 leaf (difficult to manage a knife and crust) clover freehand if you cant tell and brushed it with some green food coloring. The rest of the dough i brushed with rosemary olive oil and cooked it for 20 - 25 minutes until it was golden brown. 

In honor of St Patricks day and since having time to cook the “traditional meal” I opted instead to create a green pot pie.

It was meant to be a surprise but once a certain black cat hopped on my lap I needed assistance checking it and getting it out of the oven.

I made this with the help of kroger pre made crust (thank you kroger for saving me time)

two crusts

inside is filled with brocoli, cauliflower, eggplant, tomato, potato, cabbage, carrots, squash, garlic, onion, and basil. All of which I threw in at random so there is not method to my madness there. I just sautéed it in a skillet all together added in two cups of chicken stock. 

In another pan I mixed a few small handfuls of whole wheat flower with whole milk to make the cream filling and eventually added that to the sautéed veggies. I then added salt, pepper, and even thyme. Poured it all together in the crust and voila. 

I cut the 3 leaf (difficult to manage a knife and crust) clover freehand if you cant tell and brushed it with some green food coloring. The rest of the dough i brushed with rosemary olive oil and cooked it for 20 - 25 minutes until it was golden brown. 

Irish Soda Bread, a staple in most irish homes. St. Patricks Day weekend started out wonderfully as I had my sister meet me at my house after work to work on this delicious work of are. We arent big fans of raisons and other various fruity things in our bread so while you are free to add as you would like you can also follow us and stuff some cheese in the middle. Some Irish cheddar. It was great and very easy to make. As always I warn you this recipe is self created between myself and my sister and though delicious you are welcome to make it your own. 

Irish Soda Bread
Prep time:  10 mins
Cook time:  60 mins
Total time:  1 hour 10 mins
Cook at  450
Serves: 1 loaf
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • raisins or cheese, again up to you whatever you would like
  • 1 cup of buttermilk - or substitute with a cup of whole milk and a few squirts of lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of caraway seeds

We kneaded the bread four times but not enough to over do it and plopped it on a floured cookie sheet and left it to cook. Allow some time to cool afterwards and enjoy