Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Watermelon Blueberry Popsicles

Puree 3 cups of chopped seeded watermelon (from a two-pound watermelon). Add a bit of powdered sugar, if you like, and a couple of tablespoons of fresh lime juice, which I left out because I didn't have any limes.

Pop a few blueberries into the popsicle molds before filling with the watermelon mixture. That's it!

I made a version based on Ellie Krieger's recipe in So Easy cookbook, a book I like. Just a little bit. :-)

Fresh Blueberry Muffins

Crumb Topping:

1/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, cubed

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line with muffin cups with liners.

Crumb Topping: Mix 1/4 cup sugar, 1/8 cup flour, 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons of butter with a fork in a small bowl. Set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add the vegetable oil, egg, and milk. Fold in the blueberries. Fill the muffin cups about 2/3 full.

Sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

Any leftovers freeze beautifully. I made another batch because we had good fresh blueberries on hand that I didn't want to go to waste.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Star Spangled Cookies

Aren't these fun? Easy, too!

Sugar Cookies:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar*
1 egg
2 3/4 cups sifted flour
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
dash salt

* After I scraped the seeds from a vanilla bean for the Watermelon Sweet Tea Granita, I put the vanilla bean in a jar with sugar. It smells so good - sweet and vanilla-y! I used the vanilla sugar for these cookies.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add the egg and beat until fluffy.

Add vanilla, sifted flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate. (Dough can be refrigerated for several days.)

When ready to bake cookies, preheat oven to 350°.

Roll dough to 1/4-inch thick. Cut out shapes with cookie cutter. I used a 2 1/2-inch star cookie cutter.

Bake cookies for 9 to 11 minutes, or until cookies are just beginning to brown on the edges.

Cool on pan for a minute or two, then remove to wire racks to finish cooling.

This recipe yielded something like 30 cookies.

I love this part...the cookie glaze:

2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
scant 1/4 teaspoon butter flavoring (or you can use more vanilla, or a 1/2 teaspoon of almond or lemon extract if you prefer)
red and blue food coloring

Before you start, place a couple of wire racks on top of baking sheets. It will make cleanup easier later; any drips and dribbles from the cookies lands on the baking sheets and not on your counters. (Some concentrated food pastes can stain!)

Put the water in a small bowl and gradually add the confectioners' sugar. Stir until smooth. Beat in the corn syrup and vanilla until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.

Divide the glaze among three shallow dishes. Pie plates work great.

Tint one container of cookie glaze red, one blue, and leave the last one white.

Dip the cookies in the glaze and shake gently to remove the excess. Place the cookie on a wire rack to harden, which takes several hours.

This amount of cookie glaze covered all the cookies I made just right - I didn't run out and didn't have tons of left over. Just the right amount!

If you make these, I'd love to see your pictures!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Blueberry-Almond French Toast Bake

That was our Father's Day breakfast.

The recipe is from Ellie Krieger's cookbook, So Easy: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week.

Cooking spray
1 whole-wheat baguette (about 18 inches long, 8 ounces), cut into 1-inch cubes
8 large eggs
8 large egg whites
2 cups 1 percent lowfat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/3 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

Spray a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Arrange the bread in a single layer in the baking pan. Whisk together the eggs, egg whites, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and maple syrup. Pour the egg mixture over the bread in the pan, spreading it around so the liquid saturates the bread. Scatter the blueberries evenly on top and sprinkle with the almonds and brown sugar. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Uncover the baking pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Serve warm, cold or at room temperature.

It was good although I'd A) macerate the berries in a bit of sugar first and B) Add some butter in there somewhere. It needed just a touch.

Per Serving:

Calories 270; Total Fat 8 g; (Sat Fat 2.5 g, Mono Fat 2 g, Poly Fat 0.75 g) ; Protein 16 g; Carb 35 g; Fiber 3 g; Cholesterol 220 mg; Sodium 280 mg

Monday, June 13, 2011

Shrimp-Artichoke Salad

I made this for book club and it was a hit. It's an old garden club, bridge club staple that I haven't made in years. I'd forgotten how good it is.

2 (6-ounce) jars marinated artichoke hearts
1 (6.9-ounce) box chicken-flavored rice
1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 pound boiled, peeled shrimp
3 green onions, chopped
4 celery stalks, diced (optional - I leave it out as I don't care for celery)

Prepare the rice according to package drections, omitting the butter. Let cool.

Drain the artichoke hearts, reserving half the liquid from one jar.

Combine the reserved artichoke liquid, mayonnaise, and curry powder in a medium bowl, stirring well.

Add the cooked shrimp, green onions, cooled rice, and artichoke hearts, stirring to coat. Cover and refrigerate or serve immediately, although the salad tends to get better after a few hours' chill in the refrigerator.

Serves 6 to 8.

Recipe from Absolutely A La Carte.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Frozen Peanut Butter Pie

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
2/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup milk
8-9 ounces Cool Whip
Chocolate-cookie pie crust
Reese’s peanut butter cups
Chocolate frosting or syrup

Cream together cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, and peanut butter. Add milk and fold in Cool Whip.

Pour into the pie crust. Garnish with peanuts, peanut butter cups, and chocolate frosting or syrup. Cover and freeze for at least one hour. Keep frozen.
Very sweet and very rich!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Bread

I love the cookbook (and web site) Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

The Roasted Red Pepper Fougasse is my favorite recipe from it so far.

Preheat the oven to 450F for at least 20 to 30 minutes, with a baking stone and a broiler tray in place to catch water for steam later.

Roast a red pepper or do what I did and open a jar of them.

Roll out one pound of any dough you like, to 1/8-inch (I used the Olive Oil Dough from the book). I’d generally use a non-enriched dough here (no eggs or fat in the dough mix). Try to form an oval or rectangle. Assemble right on a liberally flour-dusted pizza peel or on parchment paper for an easier slide into the oven.

Slit one side and lay out the peppers on the other side (with their outer, peeled surface facing up).

Sprinkle with thyme and coarse salt to taste. The salt is crucial to bring out the flavor of the roasted peppers. Use a pastry brush to paint a little water around the edges to help make a good seal.

Fold the slitted half over the peppers and crimp it to the dampened side. If the edges don’t meet nicely, just trim off the extra with kitchen shears.

Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with more thyme.

If you’re not using parchment paper, make sure that the fougasse is moving well on the pizza peel; if not, nudge some additional flour underneath using a spatula.

Slide the fougasse onto the hot stone. Quickly add 1 cup of hot water to the broiler tray and close the oven door. Bake at 450 F for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown. If you rolled the dough thicker than 1/8-inch, it will need more baking to develop nice color and prevent an over-moist interior crumb next to the peppers.

Makes a beautiful appetizer!

Olive Oil Dough

Olive Oil Dough
From Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Makes 4-1lb loaves.

2-3/4 cups lukewarm water
1-1/2 tablespoon granulated yeast
1-1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Mix the yeast, salt, sugar, and olive oil with the water in a 5-quart bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container.

Mix in the flour without kneading. I used my stand mixer with dough hook, but you can use a spoon.

Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temperature until dough rises and colapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.

The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 12 days.