Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Triple Chocolate Pudding

Another recipe from SaraBeth's Bakery. Randal bought me this book for christmas and this was the first recipe we made from it, and actually we made these puddings on new years eve, so I'm a little late in posting them but better late than never.
They were actually quite quick to make and Randal loved these puddings, one of his favourite desserts is the pot de creme from central market and these actually taste quite similar to that.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ½ ounces semisweet chocolate (no more than 62 percent cacao)
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
3 cups whole milk
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
¼ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
¼ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon dark rum
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Bring 1 inch of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan over low heat. Place the butter in a heatproof bowl and melt the butter. Add the semisweet and unsweetened chocolates and let stand, stirring often, until melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat.

2. Heat the milk and 1/3 cup of the sugar in a medium saucepan over low heat until steaming. Whisk the remaining 2/3 cup sugar with the cocoa, cornstarch, and salt in a heatproof medium bowl. Add the eggs, yolk, and cream and whisk until well combined. Gradually whisk in about half of the hot milk mixture. Pour the cocoa mixture into the medium saucepan. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, whisking often, being sure to reach into the corners of the saucepan. Reduce the heat to low and let boil for 30 seconds.

3. Remove from the heat. Add the melted chocolate mixture, rum, and vanilla and whisk until combined. Pour into six 8-ounce bowls. Cover each with a piece of plastic wrap, letting the plastic touch the surface of the pudding, and pierce a few times with the tip of a small sharp knife. Let cool until tepid, about 1 hour. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.

4. To serve, top each pudding with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Rosemary Focaccia

A lady that Randal works with has been sharing the herbs she grows with us, and as both Randal and I have black thumbs (literally everything we plant dies!) we are both so grateful for that as we love fresh herbs. I knew I wanted to bake something for Sue as a thank you, and as I was looking through my new favourite cookbook SaraBeth's Bakery I found a rosemary focaccia recipe that looked perfect, and just like everything I have made from this book, it was great!

2 cups cold water
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
3 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, as needed
1 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus additional for the bowl

1. Sprinkle the yeast over 1/4 cup warm water in a small bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir to dissolve. Pour into a mixer bowl. Add 1 3/4 cups cold water and the rosemary and whisk to combine.

2. Attached the bowl to the mixer and fit with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add half of the flour, then the salt. Add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook. Knead on medium-low speed just until the dough is smooth and it cleans the bowl, about 3 minutes. Do not overknead. Gather up the dough and shape into a ball.

3. Coat the inside of a medium bowl generously with olive oil. Place the ball of dough in the bow, and turn to coat with oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

4. Pour 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a half-sheet pan, and spread evenly with your fingers. Punch down the dough and transfer to the oiled pan. Using your hands, coax and stretch the dough to fill the pan. If the dough is too elastic, cover the dough in the pan with plastic wrap and let rest for 5 minutes, then try again.

5. Choose a warm place in the kitchen for proofing. Slip the pan into a tall "kitchen-sized" plastic bag and place two tall glasses of very hot water in the bag at opposite ends of the pan to keep the plastic from touching the dough. Tightly close the bag, trapping air in the bag to partially inflate it. Let stand in a warm place until the dough looks puffy, about 45 minutes.

6. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. Fill a spray bottle with water. Remove the glasses from the bag, then the pan. Using your fingers, gently dimple the top of the dough. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over the top of the dough. Using the palms of your hands, taking special care not to deflate the dough, very lightly spread the oil over the focaccia.

7. Place the focaccia in the oven. Aiming for the walls of the oven (and not the top of the focaccia), spray water into the oven. The water will create steam to help crisp the focaccia. Bake until the focaccia is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes before serving. Cut into rectangles and serve warm or at room temperature.

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Chili and Cheese Macaroni

Tuesday: Enchilada casserole

Wednesday: Chicken Crescent Roll Casserole

Thursday: Tacos

Friday: Eating out

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Friday, February 24, 2012

Coconut Chicken with Apricot Sauce

This was one of the first recipes I pinned when I joined pinterest, and we only now got around to trying it, but it definitely will not be the last time we make this, we both loved it and I'm even thinking about putting it back on the menu plan for next week! Original recipe can be found over at Pennies on a platter.

1 egg
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 400

Mix together the coconut, flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. In a seperate bowl beat the egg. Dip the chicken into the egg, then coat with the coconut mixture, and place on a baking tray. Pour the melted butter over the chicken, bake for 15 minutes, flip the chicken over and bake for a further 15 minutes.

To make the sauce, combine the apricot and mustard in a small saucepan and heat until the preserves and mustard have combined.

See other recipes at The Grocery Cart Challenge

Boursin Sausage Balls

Another pinterest recipe! I have made these before, without the boursin though, and as Randal loves the black pepper boursin I thought he would prefer these. In the end I ended up loving them whereas Randal thought they needed more spice to them.

1 lb sweet italian sausage
1 package (5.2 oz) black pepper boursin cheese
3 oz cream cheese
1 1/4 cup Bisquick
1 cup mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400.

Mix everything together, roll into balls and bake for 25 minutes, until browned.

Honey Glazed Chicken and Bacon Bites

I think these were Randal's favourite appetizer that I made for valentine's day, and to be honest they were a last minute addition, to use up the rest of the bacon from making the bacon wrapped stuffed jalapenos. I did a quick search looking for a glaze recipe, so they weren't just plain chicken wrapped in bacon and found this over at Kayotic Kitchen.

Boneless chicken breasts
3 tbsp honey
2 tsp coarse mustard
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

I didn't give a quantity of chicken or bacon, because it's really just as much as you want or need to make. I used 2 chicken breasts that I cut into bite sized pieces, cut each bacon slice into thirds and wrapped it around the chicken.

To make the glaze just mix together the mustard, honey and lemon and brush half of it over the bacon wrapped chicken, bake at 425 for 15 minutes, turn them over and brush with remaining glaze and bake for another 15 minutes.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Valentine's Cake

When I saw this cake truffle box over at the incredible
Bakerella I knew I had to attempt this for valentine's day. I am no where near as talented as Bakerella, so I will link to her detailed instructions on how to make this Cake. The truffles I made for this were raspberry cheesecake truffles, I am not putting the recipe here because I was not that happy with them and I have definitely made better and easier to work with truffles before.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

I already failed my resolution to keep up with weekly menu plans this year, but Randal ended up working late for a few weeks and when he does I do not need to cook, as dinner is provided for him, then I got really sick and literally didn't cook a thing for over a week, so Randal was bringing dinner home every night. Now though, Randal is working normal hours again and I am feeling better, so back to cooking and menu planning it is!

Monday: Marlboro man sandwiches and roasted asparagus

Tuesday: Chili

Wednesday: Coconut chicken with apricot sauce, jasmine rice and fresh green beans

Thursday: Homemade pizza

Friday: Eating out

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Friday, February 17, 2012

Raspberry Croissant Bread Pudding

Also known as the best dessert I have ever made, so much so, that I actually made this twice in 2 days. My original plan for this dessert was to follow the recipe for raspberry bread pudding from SaraBeth's Bakery which involved making a pullman loaf and assembling these little puddings in entremet rings. However, I never did get around to buying the rings and as valentine's day rolled around I spent 2 days in the kitchen making raspberry truffles, heart shape truffle box cake, stawberry fudge and what seemed like an unbelievable amount of appetizers and my enthusiasm for making homemade bread went out the window. Just as I was about to pull the plug on the entire dessert, Randal suggested using the store bought croissants that we already had and some ramekins. The puddings wouldn't be perfectly tall and neat like SaraBeth's, but I figured I could make it work, and I am so glad that I did. I made just half of her Creme Anglaise recipe as we surely didn't need 16 egg yolks worth of custard! but I'll give the recipe for the full amount.

Creme Anglaise
3 cups heavy cream
3 cups whole milk
1 ½ cups sugar
Seeds from 2 plumped Vanilla Beans (vanilla beans plumped in rum for at least 2 weeks)
16 large egg yolks

Pour the cream and milk into a saucepan, and add the sugar. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla beans and add to the milk, then split the vanilla beans in half and add that to the milk also. Whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl and leave near the stove. Place a sieve over a second bowl placed in a larger bowl filled with ice.

Heat the cream mixture over medium heat, stirring often to dissolve the sugar, until the mixture is very hot but not boiling. Slowly whisk half of the cream mixture into the yolks. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the crème anglaise is thick enough to coat the spatula. Pour through the sieve to remove the vanilla beans and any cooked egg pieces, leave to cool for 15 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 250.

I used croissants and not white bread like the original recipe, for half the custard mixture I used 4 croissants, which made 4 bread puddings. Tear the croissants into a large bowl and add 2 cups of the creme anglaise and leave to absorb for 20 minutes.

Lightly spray 4 ramekins with non-stick spray and put a layer of the croissant mixture into the ramekin, add 5 or 6 fresh raspberries to each pudding, a tablespoon or two of the creme anglaise and then fill the ramekins with the rest of the croissant mixture, finishing the puddings with two more tablespoons of the creme anglaise. Bake for 45 minutes.

Raspberry sauce
6oz fresh raspberries
1.5 tablespoons superfine sugar
Seeds from a 1/4 of a plumped vanilla bean

Combine the raspberries and sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar, until the berries have given off some juices and they come to a boil. Transfer to a sieve set over a bowl. Using a spatula rub the berries and juices through the sieve.

When ready to assemble the puddings, put a layer of the creme anglaise into a bowl, add the raspberry bread pudding ontop and a few drops of the raspberry sauce.

Linked to  The Grocery Cart Challenge, Crazy For Crust, Eat At Home

Valentine's Roast Potatoes

Another valentines idea I saw on pinterest, these are so easy there really isn't much of a recipe to post here, but they are so cute I couldn't resist. I did not make that many of them, just one large potatoes worth because our valentines dinner was made up of a number of different appetizers, I knew we wouldn't need that many, but of course you can make as many as you want to.

Russet potatoes
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Pre-heat oven to 400.

Peel and slice potatoes into half inch rounds, par-boil in salted water for 7-10 minutes, until potatoes are slightly softened.

Carefully remove potatoes from water, and leave them to cool for a few minutes in a single layer on a chopping board, just so they are cool enough to handle.

Using a heart shape cookie cutter, cut out as many hearts as you can, place on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and some rosemary and bake for 25-30 minutes, until crispy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Strawberry Fudge

I found this recipe on pinterest, and thought it would be a cute addition to the valentines treats I was making for Randal's office. This recipe really couldn't be easier, just white chocolate and strawberry frosting.

12 oz white chocolate
16 oz strawberry frosting

Melt chocolate chips and stir in strawberry frosting. Spread mixture into a 9x9 pan (I made a double batch which is why my pan is bigger than 9x9)and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.