Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Baked Zucchini Chips

Here are some Zucchini Chips I made, they go great with a Ranch style dip. I think kids will like this because, it disguises the zucchini so you can trick them into eating their vegetables!

I combined 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 1 tsp red pepper flakes, 1 tsp seasoned salt, 1 tsp of garlic powder, and a dash of pepper. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
I used my mandolin to slice up the zucchini, but slice the zucchini the same width, thin slices about 1/4 inch. I put a glug of half and half into a little bowl, and did the "dry hand" "wet hand" to coat the zucchini.
Use a wire rack on top of your baking sheet, and make sure it's coated in cooking spray. Go ahead and start laying them out.
I cut up two medium sized zucchinis, and they filled up the entire tray.
Bake them for about 20-25 minutes, depending on how crisp you want them.
I served mine in a wine glass with and without wax paper, just because it looked so pretty.
See? :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Kicked Up Creamy Potato Soup

My sister loves potato soup so I thought I would take a chance and make it. turns out, it's easy and way more DELISH when it's fresh. She said it was better than the soup she buys every week, so score one for me!
The best part of this recipe, for me anyway, is that you can rough chop everything--thanks to my new hand blender I got for the holidays, everything will get blended together and no one will notice your lopsided chops of potatoes!
First I sauteed some onions with GOOD extra virgin olive oil for about 5-7 minutes
then I added two chopped carrots and let them simmer for an additional 5 minutes. I added in a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, a sprinkle of thyme + parsley, and a little salt and pepper.
I rough chopped 4 large Idaho potatoes, and added them to the pot. I poured in about 1/4 cup of dry white wine and let the potatoes absorb the flavor of the wine.
Once the wine is absorbed, I added 4 cups of chicken stock and a teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Let simmer for about 15 minutes, to allow the potatoes to suck in all the flavors.
Once the potatoes are cooked through, I added in some chopped freshly cooked bacon, about 6 slices. Chop up the remaining slices and reserve for garnish.
Then I removed the pot from the heat, used my hand blender and went to town.
If you don't have a hand blender you do batches by using a food processor. After the potatoes were the consistency that I wanted, I poured in two cups of half and half, and another cup of chicken stock. I mixed it all together and voila. A great soup!
I HIGHLY recommend serving this with a wallop of sour cream and a little sprinkle of some of that leftover chopped bacon. :) I hardly had any leftovers.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fresh Nicoise Salad

This is a nicoise salad I made, it's great because it's so elegant looking and at the same time so easy to create. Plus everyone can pick and choose what they want to eat. I don't have the step-by-step photographed, but my friend was able to take the shots on his iPhone before we dug in. I grilled a tuna steak, with salt pepper and extra virgin olive oil. It took about 3 minutes per side. Remove from grill pan and set aside. I boiled some small red potatoes in heavily salted water until cooked through. Remove from pot and set aside. I used grape tomatoes, which I sliced in half, and sauteed in extra virgin olive oil, a tsp of minced garlic, some thyme, fresh chopped basil + parsley, and some salt + pepper. I let them cook until the skins were getting loose from the bodies. Remove from pan and set aside. I made a vinaigrette dressing using 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 tbs dijon mustard, 3 tbs white wine vinegar, 1 tsp minced garlic, 1 tbs fresh parsley, and juice from 1/2 lemon. Whisk together and add salt and pepper to taste. I put the potatoes in a Tupperware container, and a little of the vinaigrette, and gave them a good shake. While they were sitting and soaking up the vinaigrette, I started arranging the salad. I used romaine lettuce and created a base, and added a handful of blanched green beans, some bean sprouts, I flaked the cooked tuna and spread that around, I added the herbed tomatoes, the potatoes, some sliced cucumbers, and three hard boiled eggs cut in half. Then I drizzled the vinaigrette all over the salad. Everyone L O V E D it. It's one good looking salad. ;)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

More Christmas Cake Pops!

Here's Santa + Snowmen....Happy Holidays!
Ho Ho Ho... his beard is made with icing and coconut, and I "drew" on his Santa hat with some melted red candy melts.
Aren't these snowmen adorable?! I love the little guy in the middle. I just used m+m's for the earmuffs, and some peel away twizzlers for the scarves. The noses are made of cut candy melts.
Let me know that you stopped by! :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Cake Pops!

Ready or not, here comes my Christmas cake pops! This is part one of two, as I couldn't finish the other three designs today (but not to worry, they will be up by tomorrow night). Here's a little bit of my process, sketches always come first.
I use my sprinkles + goodness on my sketches to see how they're going to work out...
ahh, those reindeer are going to be adorable!
Ho Ho Ho!

and here's what I pull out of the pantry to inspire me.

and most are the first three pops!
I had leftover candy corns from the Turkey Cake Pops, and they seemed to fit perfectly for these adorable little guys.
Say "hi" to your friends! (that goes to Sug + Janet)

Christmas Trees!!
well someone wants me to move on to the last design of the day...
I just used m&m's for the noses..and just regular pretzels for the antlers. I drew their little smiles on with candy writers.

Stay tuned for tomorrow: Santa Claus, Snowmen, and Angels....I must warn you Santa is ADORABLE.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Spicy Gorgonzola Pasta

Sorry for the absence- holidays sometimes get the best of me I guess. Here's a simple go to dinner recipe that I constantly use, and change, and add to and use again. Love Gorgonzola cheese? Love pasta? Let's put some protein in there and call it a meal!

Start with marinating your chicken (breasts or strips or tenderloins) in some GOOD EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, sprinkle in some kosher salt, a pinch of pepper, a sprinkle of thyme, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Let marinate for about ten minutes, so the flavors get introduced to each other.
Place in a warm skillet and brown the chicken, usually taking 4 minutes on one side and another 3 on the other.
While the chicken is starting to cook through, place your pasta in some boiling SALTED water and bring to al dente. You never want to cook your pasta all the way through if using a sauce, this way it will soak up some of the flavor when you marry it to the sauce and finishes cooking.
Once the chicken is cooked, remove from pan.
Place heat on medium/low and add in two tablespoons butter, and start breaking up the goodness that was left on the bottom of the pan from the chicken.
Add in one tablespoon of cornstarch or flour, and let that soak up the butter to a nice paste like texture.
Then I added in about a cup of white wine, well maybe it was more like a cup and a half. I added just a teaspoon of this bouillon base that I had found, instead of chicken stock.
Once that cooks through, I added about 1/2 cup of heavy cream and let that cook together.
Add in a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes...
and a handful of the crumbled Gorgonzola cheese. You don't need to wait for the cheese to melt, it will do that as you continue adding ingredients.
I added in some chopped radicchio I had left over.
Next add the cooked noodles in so they can soak up the sauce flavors and finish cooking through. Return the cooked chicken to the pan as well.
Some fresh chopped flat leaf parsley and voila.
A tasty dinner twist on the all too classic "chicken + pasta."
I like to garnish, so add a few pieces of crumbled blue cheese and a little sprinkle of fresh parsley on top.