Thursday, December 27, 2012

Baked Eggs over Potatoes

Serves 1

1 russet potato
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg
1/4 cup cheddar cheese
1/4 of an avocado

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Clean the skin of each potato and dice into small cubes.  Place the olive oil in a ramekin or small baking dish.   Put the diced potato on top and toss in the olive oil.  Sprinkle liberally with salt.  Toss in the rosemary, parsley, garlic powder, and pepper.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Once potatoes are cooked, take them out of the oven and sprinkle with cheese.  Crack an egg into another small bowl.  Gently pour the egg over the cheese and potato mixture so that is lands in the center.

Put back in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until egg sets.

Dice the quarter of the avocado into cubes.  Toss on top of the egg.  Serve and enjoy!

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Braised Beef Tacos

2 lb top round steak
1 packet taco seasoning
1 quart beef stock
2 cups water
1 jalapeno pepper

Corn Salsa:
2 cups frozen corn
1 jalapeno pepper
1 cup diced red onion
1 garlic clove
1 lime

Roasted Poblanos:
2 poblano peppers
1 large onion

corn tortillas
monterey jack cheese
sour cream

Heat a large pot on high heat with a tablespoon of oil in the bottom. Salt the beef on all sides and brown in the pan on all sides.  About 2-3 minutes a side.  Once browned, pour the beef stock, water, and taco seasoning into the pot.  Half the jalapeno and put into the pot.  Remove seeds and membrane for less spicy beef.  Cover and put on low heat for 3-3 1/2 hours or until beef is tender.

To make the corn salsa, half the jalapeno pepper, remove the seeds and finely dice.  In a skillet, saute the corn, jalapeno peppers, red onion, and chopped garlic clove until brown.  Once browned, pour the juice of one lime over the salsa and stir.

Cut open the poblano peppers and remove the seeds.  Slice into thin strips.  Slice the onion into thin strips. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and roast the peppers and onions together for 15 minutes.

Once beef is tender, shred on a cutting board and place back into the pot.  Allow to cook with the lid off for another 15-20 minutes.

Now you can assemble the tacos.  I start with a corn tortilla and top it with cheese.  I like to microwave for 30 seconds to melt the cheese and soften the tortilla.

Top with your braised beef, corn salsa, peppers and onions, guacamole, and sour cream.  Serve and enjoy!

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Gingerbread Cake

1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 water
1/2 cup molasses
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 pound cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat together shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and whip until combined.  Mix together the water and molasses in a separate bowl.

Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, and salt until everything is evenly distributed.

Alternately pour in the molasses mixture with the flour mixture into the creamed mixture beating after every addition.

Line a 13 x 9 in baking dish with oven safe parchment paper and then spray the parchment paper with cooking spray.  Evenly spread the batter into the pan.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Allow to cool for 2 minutes and then remove the entire parchment paper from the pan and place on a very clean kitchen towel.  Put another layer of parchment paper on top.  Roll from the short end to the other short end, wrapping the kitchen towel in every time you turn.  Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

While chilling, beat together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until very creamy.  Slowly add in the powdered sugar until a smooth frosting forms.  Leave out at room temperature while the cake cools so it is very easy to spread.

Once the cake is chilled, gently unroll it and quickly fill with the cream cheese frosting.  Roll back up very tight with a towel around the entire thing.  Chill for 3-4 hours or overnight.

You can chill the frosting now, but take it out of the refrigerator for a half hour before frosting the entire cake.

Once you are ready to frost the whole cake, take it out of the towel and place on your serving dish.  Frost the entire thing with the cream cheese frosting and allow to chill for another few hours.  I decorated mine with a leaf stencil and some cocoa powder.  I also put a few mint leaves with a cherry to look like holly leaves.

Serve and enjoy!

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

1 1/3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk

1 cup peanut butter
1 stick butter
1/4 cup milk
4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line muffin tins with paper or foil liners.  The recipe should be enough for 16 cupcakes.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy using an electric ixer.  Add one egg at a time and beat well after each egg.  Stir in the vanilla and beat until incorporated.  Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk and beat in between each addition.

Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full.  Bake for 15-17 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

For the frosting, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Then beat in the peanut butter and slowly add in the milk until thick and creamy.  I put mine into a plastic bag so that I could pipe it on by cutting the corner of the bag.

Once cupcakes are out of the oven, allow them to cool for at least a half hour.  Once cool either pipe or frost each cupcake with the frosting.  Serve and enjoy!

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Microwaveable Mug Brownie

If you do not want to eat a warm brownie at least once a day do not read this recipe!!!!!  It literally takes 1 minute to mix together, 1 minute to cook and is probably the best brownie I have ever tasted.

4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons unsweeted cocoa powder
pinch of salt

Mix together all of the ingredients in a coffee mug.  Stir completely so that nothing is stuck to the bottom.  Microwave for 1 minute in the microwave.  EAT!

I swear it is that easy and absolutely unbelieveable!!!  This is the kind of recipe a college student creates the week of finals! After you make it once you will want it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a  large bowl beat together the brown sugar and butter until creamy. Beat in the vanilla and egg until light and fluffy.  Stir in the oats, flour, baking soda, and salt until everything is combined.

Fold in the chocolate chips.  Place onto an ungreased cookie sheet using a tablespoon measurement.  Place them about 2 inches apart.  Bake 9-11 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool for 2 minutes on the baking tray and then move to a wire rack.  Cool completely.  Serve and enjoy!

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Best Thing I Ever Ate: Meat

Gnocchi Genovese
Luca's Ristorante
Somerset, NJ

For my birthday my parents decided to choose a new restaurant in the area to take me to dinner.  They stumbled upon Luca's Ristorante.  It was voted in the top 20 best fresh pastas in all of New Jersey and I can definitely agree with that.  The decor is beautiful, the service is fantastic, and the food is some of the best I have ever eaten.

The dish I ordered was gnocchi with braised sirloin steak and caramelized onion in a white wine beef reduction.  It came out hot in the disk it had been cooked in and was steaming at the table. This was an absolutely beautiful presentation because the smell perfumed the entire dining room.

The sirloin was absolutely tender, I didn't need a knife at all.  It had an extremely meaty flavor without being too overpowering of the gnocchi underneath.  The gnocchi were light as a cloud and the perfect complement to the braised meat.

Definitely check out this restaurant if you are in the area.  Everything else my family ate was fantastic and you can tell everything is extremely fresh and homemade!

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Earl Grey Shortbread

1 cup all purpose flour
4 tea bags
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

In a bowl, mix together the flour and salt.  Open the tea bags and sprinkle in the leaves.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Slowly pour the flour mixture into the butter and sugar mixture and beat on low speed using an electric mixer.

Roll the dough into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and wrap in plastic wrap.  Freeze for at least a half hour.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut log into 1/4 inch slices and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet about 1/2 inch apart.  Bake for 13-15 minutes or until slightly golden.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar after they come out of the oven.  Serve and enjoy!

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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

3/4 cup unsweetend cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs
3/4 water
3/4 milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup mini marshmallows
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line standard cupcake pans with paper liners.  It should make 16 cupcakes.   I used leopard print ones!

In a large bowl, mix the cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Add the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla.  Mix with an electric mixer until smooth.

Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full.  Bake for 20 minutes or until cupcakes spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Place marshmallows and butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 20 seconds.  Stir until combined.  Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and water.  Beat with an electric mixer until frosting comes together and is spreadable.

Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes in pan.  Remove and cool completely.

Once cooled frost with frosting and serve!

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Pear, Walnut, and Bleu Cheese Salad on Endive

2 heads of endive
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 pears
1 cup bleu cheese crumbles
2 tablespoons strawberry jam
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup dried cranberries

In a small bowl whisk together the strawberry jam, oil, and vinegar until it forms a vinaigrette.  Peel the pears and dice into small cubes.  Toss in the vinaigrette with the cranberries and store in the refrigerator for a half hour.

Peel the endive leaves away carefully from the core and rinse.  Arrange on a platter.

Take the pear mixture out of the refrigerator and stir in the walnuts.  Spoon a tablespoonful on the end of each endive leave.  Top with bleu cheese and serve!

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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Red Velvet Brownies

4 oz bittersweet chocolate bar
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1oz bottle red food coloring
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

4 oz cream cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9 inch square pan.

Microwave the chocolate and butter together for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until melted.  Stir every 30 seconds to prevent burning.  Whisk in the sugar and allow to cool for 2 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time and whisk completely until blended after each addition.  Gently stir in the flour.  Add the baking powder, vanilla, and salt.  Finally stir in the food coloring.  Be careful to not get it on clothes!

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes.  Cool completely.

In a large bowl beat together the cream cheese, butter, sugar, and vanilla together until it forms a frosting consistency.  Once brownies are cooled remove from the pan and cut into squares.  Frost each one with a generous amount of cream cheese frosting.  Enjoy!

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