Saturday, November 20, 2010

Drunken Raisins Bread Pudding




This bread pudding recipe is the solution to all of your problems. Well, not really, but it will make you feel better after a terrible day! Consuming this dessert is almost like treating yourself to a hot bubble bath. Let us explain - first, you soak the raisins in rum, then you soak the bread in a luxurious milky batter. The process of making this dessert is just as soothing as eating it - its all about relaxing, de-stressing and keeping your mind off of your worries.


We modified Aarti Sequeira's bread pudding recipe by adding the rum-soaked raisins. As she says on her show "Aarti Party" on the Food Network, bread pudding hugs you from the inside out! We think she's right!



Ingredients:

1 French baguette
3 eggs
1 can of coconut milk
3 cups of whole milk
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon of Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of cardamon
1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of raisins
1/2 cup of dark rum
Vanilla ice cream


Kitchen Essentials:
Oven
Knife
Cutting board
Measuring cups and spoons
Baking dish
Small bowl
Large bowl
Whisk

Prep:

Soak the raisins in the rum for an hour or more before preparing this dessert. The longer they soak, the richer the flavor.

When you are ready to begin, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the baguette into 1-inch cubes, place in a baking dish and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, coconut milk, milk, salt, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger, cardamon, sugar and rum-soaked raisins. Carefully whisk, making sure the mixture does not spill out of the bowl. Finally, add the bread cubes and make sure they are all evenly coated. The longer they soak, the better it tastes! When you are ready to bake, place the entire mixture into a baking dish. Pop into the oven and bake for about 35 minutes, until the bread has soaked up all of the liquid. Do yourself a favor and serve your portion with a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. The warm bread pudding with the rich, cold ice cream is edible bliss!

Cheddar Potato Gratin


This cheesy potato dish is sure to become a family favorite! It sure has in our family. This recipe is the perfect companion to your Thanksgiving turkey or favorite weekday chicken dish. One bite and you will be hooked!


Ingredients:
5 medium potatoes
1 can of cheddar cheese soup
2 cups of milk
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of flour
1 /12 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
1 bag of shredded cheddar cheese

Cooking Essentials:
Oven
Vegetable peeler
Knife
Cutting board
Measuring cups and spoons
Medium sauce pan
Wooden spatula
Whisk
Baking dish


Prep:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel and chop the potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes and place in buttered baking dish.

Directions:
Make a roux, which is a thickening agent, by heating the butter in a pan over low heat. When the butter melts, add the four and whisk continuously until the lumps are gone. Next, slowly add the milk and turn the heat up to medium. You will see the milk begin to thicken. Add the cheddar cheese soup and heat through. Add the salt and pepper and stir. Pour the cheese mixture over the potatoes and top with shredded Cheddar cheese. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until the potatoes are soft and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Homemade Pesto Sauce




If you have never made pesto before, don't fear! It's easier than you think! As long as you follow directions, you will be fine. The first time we made homemade pesto, we doubled up on the basil because we had so much of it growing in our garden. Big mistake! It tasted like we were eating an actual tree - not good! This recipe is Ina Garten's except that we toast the pine nuts and walnuts before putting them in the food processor and she doesn't. We think it tastes better when you toast them because it brings out the natural oils of the nuts, which turns up the flavor.


This recipe will make enough pesto to use over and over again. It can be stored in the refrigerator for about a month. We like to toss it with whole-wheat pasta and some Parmesan cheese when we don't have a lot of time to cook. On the weekends, we enjoy mixing the pesto with a little bit of mayo and spreading it on our croissant sandwiches. We tasted pesto mayo in Hawaii for the first time and were hooked!

Ingredients:
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pine nuts
9 cloves of garlic (chopped)
5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 1/2 cups of olive oil
1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Kitchen Essentials:
Pan
Spatula
Food processor
Knife
Cutting board
Measuring cups and spoons

Prep:
Clean and dry the basil leaves.

Directions:
Toast the walnuts and pine nuts in a dry pan over low heat, stirring frequently, for about 5-8 until they are golden brown. Your nose will let you know when they are done! Place the nuts into a food processor. Coarsely chop the garlic and place into the food processor as well. Process for 15 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sinful Three-Layer Brownies



Every once in a while it's nice to take a break and relax while enjoying a decadent dessert. However, these three-layer brownies are more than decadent...they are sin on a plate! If you love chocolate and peanut butter, then this recipe is for you! The chewy brownie base, crunchy peanut butter center and crisp cereal topping are sure to leave you friends and family wanting more!

Ingredients:
1 box of brownie mix
¼ cup of unsalted peanuts
4-5 chopped Reeses’s peanut butter cups
1 ¾ cup peanut butter
1 ½ cup milk chocolate chips (for brownie mix)
¼ cup milk chocolate chips (for garnish)
1 ½ cups of Rice Krispies cereal
1 ½ teaspoonful of butter

Kitchen Essentials:
Stand mixer or mixing bowl and hand mixer
9x13 baking dish
Oven
Oven mitts
Measuring cups and spoons
Knife
Cutting board
Medium Pan
Spatula
Wooden spoon

Prep:
Chop the peanuts and peanut butter cups. Preheat the oven according to the directions on the brownie mix box.

Directions:
First, make the brownies according to the directions on the box. Once the brownies are done, remove from the oven and sprinkle with chopped peanuts and Reese’s peanut butter cups. In a medium pan over low heat, melt the butter and add the milk chocolate chips. Do not increase the heat or the chocolate will burn. Stir continuously until the chocolate melts and is smooth. Add the peanut butter and continue stirring so that it incorporates with the chocolate. Lastly, add the Rice Krispies cereal and mix well. Once the mixture is complete, pour it over the Reese’s and peanut topped brownies and with a spatula, smooth out the mixture so that it is one even layer. Sprinkle some milk chocolate chips on top and place in the fridge for approximately three hours. Once the brownies are firm, cut into squares and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

10-Minute Chorizo and Scallops


Even after a long day at work, you can treat yourself and your loved ones to a fabulous, no-fuss dinner. How does a 10-minute sausage and seafood recipe sound? If this is what your heart desires, this entrée is for you! You can serve this dish with a quick side dish such as salad or cous-cous.

Ingredients:
½ pound of chorizo sausage
1 pound of scallops
A handful of chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

Kitchen Essentials:
Large non-stick pan
Measuring cups and spoons
Wooden spoon
Knife
Cutting board
Paper towels or kitchen towel
Small bowl

Prep:
This dish is so simple that there is rarely any prep required. First, cut the chorizo into ¼ inch slices and set aside. Pat dry the scallops with papers towels, so that they are nice and dry. Cut the lemon in half and juice the lemon. Lastly, rough chop a handful of cilantro for garnish.

Directions:
Place your non-stick pan on the stove and turn the stove on to medium heat. Add the chorizo directly to the pan. No oil is needed for this dish as the chorizo will release its natural oils. Cook the chorizo for about five minutes until it has browned to your liking. Spoon out the chorizo, leaving behind the oil and mix in the scallops so they are coated with the oil from the chorizo, this will help it cook and absorb the flavor of the chorizo. The scallops will only need about a minute or two to cook. Return the chorizo to the pan and add the lemon juice. Remove from the heat, place on a serving platter and sprinkle the scallops and chorizo with chopped cilantro. Surely you will be thinking: “Wow, that was fast, easy and delicious!” Enjoy!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Creamy Vanilla Panna Cotta with Strawberry Cognac Glaze


We absolutely love dessert, especially panna cotta! It is Mr. P’s ultimate favorite! What exactly is panna cotta you ask? It’s an Italian custard or pudding which translates in English to “cooked cream.” We like to compare its texture to that of a Spanish flan. You can make it in many different flavors; however this recipe is for the classic vanilla panna cotta. It is simply the best!


Ingredients for Panna Cotta:
1 teaspoon of unflavored gelatin
7 ounces of Fage Total 2% Greek yogurt
1½ cups of heavy cream
4 teaspoons of cold water
3 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
½ cup of sugar
Mint leaves (for garnish)

Ingredients for Strawberry Cognac Glaze:
2 cups of fresh strawberries
4 tablespoons of strawberry jelly or jam
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1 teaspoon of water
Sugar (to taste)
2-3 tablespoons of Cognac (brandy)

Kitchen Essentials:
Small bowl
Large bowl
Whisk Small pot
Measuring cups and spoons
Wooden spoon
4 8-ounce ramekins
Knife
Cutting board
Plastic Wrap
Spatula or butter knife

*Note* Because this dessert requires 6 hours of chilling time, it is best to make it the night before you serve it.

Directions for Panna Cotta:
Combine the gelatin and cold water in a small bowl and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the Greek yogurt, vanilla extract, and ½ cup of the heavy cream until well incorporated. In the small pot over medium heat, add the other half of the heavy cream and the sugar. When the sugar completely dissolves, pour the warm heavy cream/sugar mixture into the cold gelatin mixture and whisk. Lastly, add the cold yogurt mixture and continue to whisk. Carefully pour the panna cotta into the 4 ramekins and refrigerate uncovered for about 1 hour. After an hour, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least another 5 hours.

Directions for Strawberry Cognac Glaze:
Because the glaze is served room temperature, make one hour before serving. In a small pot, combine the strawberry jelly or jam and the water. With the heat on low, stir the mixture until the jam dissolves and becomes a thick glaze. This should take 5-10 minutes. When the jam has dissolved, add the sliced fresh strawberries and mix to coat the strawberries. Because the amount of sugar in jams and jellies differ, taste the mixture to test for sugar. If you would like it a little sweeter, then add some sugar and allow it to dissolve before removing from the heat. Off the heat, add the lemon zest and cognac. Let the glaze come to room temperature before pouring over the panna cotta.

Serving Instructions:
Remove the plastic wrap covering the panna cotta and use a small spatula or butter knife to scrape the sides of the ramekins. Quickly invert the ramekin onto individual plates and pour the strawberry cognac glaze over the panna cotta. Garnish with a mint leaf and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Searching for Color in North Carolina

Although we love living in Miami, we hate the fact that we cannot witness the beauty of the seasons changing. So every Fall, we pack our bags and head to a place where we can experience the changing of the leaves, the crisp air and pure nature. This year, we headed out to North Carolina with our traveling Chihuahua Joey! Here are some snapshots of our trip:






















Monday, November 1, 2010

Homemade Breakfast Potatoes


Looking for an easy and satisfying breakfast dish for your hungry family? Look no further than these homemade seasoned potatoes! They are so much yummier than the frozen kind and you won’t break a sweat making them. They perfectly complement our Mexican Breakfast Lasagna. Try it this weekend!

Ingredients:
1 Medium sized yellow onion
1 Red bell pepper (You can used a green bell pepper as well)
8-9 Yukon gold potatoes
2 teaspoonfuls of fresh rosemary
2 teaspoonfuls of fresh thyme
1/4 cup parsley
Salt
Pepper
Olive oil


Kitchen Essentials:Large non-stick panMeasuring cups and spoonsWooden spoonKnifeCutting boardPaper towels or kitchen towelLarge bowl or platter


Prep:
About 10 minutes before cooking, rinse the potatoes and pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel. Finely chop the onion and red bell pepper. When chopping the potatoes, chop them into 1/2 inch cubes. Try to make them all about the same size, so they cook evenly.

Directions:
Add some olive oil to the non-stick pan and turn the stove on to medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and red peppers. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper, to help soften the onions and red peppers. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the softened onions and peppers from the heat and set aside.

Add some more olive oil and then add the chopped potatoes. Stir so they are all coated with the hot olive oil.  Add some more salt and pepper to season the potatoes. Continue cooking for 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes are golden brown and tender. Before removing the potatoes from the heat, sprinkle with chopped fresh thyme and rosemary and return the softened onions and peppers. Now its time to taste the potatoes to make sure they are perfectly seasoned! Transfer to a bowl or platter and sprinkle with some chopped parsley. Enjoy!
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