Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Grilled Meatballs

Recipe from Rachael Ray, 30 Minute Meals and FoodTV

1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup (3 handfuls), Italian bread crumbs
1 medium onion, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons (several drops) Worcestershire sauce,
1/4 cup (a couple of handfuls) flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 cup (a couple of handfuls) grated Parmigiano or Romano
Coarse salt and black pepper

Place ground sirloin in a large mixing bowl and punch a well into the center of meat. Fill well with the egg, bread crumbs, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, Worcestershire, parsley, cheese, and a little salt and pepper. Mix up meatball ingredients until well combined, yet not over-mixed. Divide mix into 4 equal parts, roll each part into 4 balls and space equally onto a nonstick baking sheet. Place meatballs in oven and roast about 12 minutes. Break a meatball open and make sure meat is cooked through before removing from the oven.

And here's my version:

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 cup Panko (Japanese Bread Crumbs)
1 medium onion, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup flat leafed parsley- finely chopped
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and roll into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Taking a bamboo skewer, slowly insert the skewer into 3 meatballs per skewer, flatten slightly. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Cook over a high heat grill for about 10 minutes, turning frequently.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Chicken Tikka

Chicken Tikka
by Rachael Ray as found in 30 Minute Meals 2.

Makes 4 Servings

1 cup plain yogurt
1 rounded teaspoon mild curry paste
Juice of 1 lemon
3 Tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders

Preheat grill pan or indoor electric grill to high.

Combine yogurt, curry paste, lemon juice, and cilantro in a shallow dish. Add chicken tenders and coat evenly. Thread chicken tenders onto skewers, and cook on high for about 5 minutes on each side.

Serve with your choice of chutneys, flatbreads, and raita.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Rhubarb Custard Bars

Rhubarb Custard Bars
Recipe By : Cooking Light Magazine (with minor modifications)
Serving Size : 20

1 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons chilled butter -- cut into small pieces
Cooking spray

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
3 large eggs
5 cups sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb (unthawed) -- (1/2-inch)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
zest of 1 lemon

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup block-style fat-free cream cheese -- (4 ounces)
1/2 cup block-style 1/3-less-fat cream cheese -- (4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup frozen fat-free whipped topping -- thawed
Mint sprigs (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°.To prepare crust, lightly spoon 1 1/2 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt in a bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Press mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

To prepare filling, lightly spoon 1/3 cup flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine 1/3 cup flour and 1 1/2 cups sugar in a large bowl; add milk and eggs, stirring with a whisk until well blended.Stir in cinnamon and lemon zest. Stir in rhubarb. Pour rhubarb mixture over crust. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until set. Cool to room temperature.

To prepare topping, place 1/2 cup sugar, cheeses, and vanilla in a bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Gently fold in whipped topping; spread evenly over baked custard. Cover and chill at least 1 hour. Garnish with mint sprigs, if desired.
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Sunday, May 21, 2006

A Tour of Albania

Albanian Vegetable Pie


1 cup (240 mL) oil, preferably olive oil
1½ packets (or about 30) pastry leaves (Filo dough)
pounds (680 g) spinach, chopped
1 cup (240 mL) diced feta cheese
½ cup (120 mL) chopped green onions
2-3 eggs
t salt

A medium-sized, round baking pan is recommended because it's more authentic but any medium-sized baking pan will do.
Brush the baking pan with some of the oil, and start laying the pastry leaves inside. First, lay two leaves, sprinkle or brush with oil, then lay two other leaves, and repeat the procedure until half of the leaves are laid. Make sure that they cover the pan by hanging them about one inch over the edges of the pan.
Sprinkle spinach with salt, then mix well by hand. Add the feta cheese, oil, onions, eggs and salt, and spread this mixture over the already laid pastry leaves. Finish by covering the spinach with the rest of the pastry leaves repeating the first-half procedure and then roll the hanging edges of the bottom leaves over the pie (think of a pizza crust), sprinkle top with oil and bake moderately at 350°F (175°C) for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve hot, accompanied with buttermilk, or beaten yogurt, thinned down in cold water or with chilled stewed prunes. Sometimes a green salad adds to the meal!
Serves 4-6.

Albanian Burger Steaks

1 1/2 lb Ground beef
1 Egg
1/4 cup Onion, minced
1/2 tsp Black pepper
Mint leaves
2 Cloves garlic, minced
2 slices Bread, soaked in milk and squeezed
2 tsp Salt
3 tbl Minced mint leaves

Method:Times staff writer Rose Dosti's mother adapted Albanian flavor preferences to American hamburger with these results.Combine beef, garlic, egg, bread, onion, salt, pepper and mint. Shape into 4 oblong patties and fry 8 to 10 minutes on each side in lightly greased skillet. Serve on hot plates and garnish with additional mint leaves, if desired.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Cream of Asparagus Soup

Cream of Asparagus Soup

1 lb fresh asparagus or 1 (12 ounce) package frozen asparagus
1 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned chicken broth
2 tablespoons chopped onions
1 cup milk or cream

If using fresh asparagus, wash stalks and cut off the coarse ends.

Cook the asparagus in 2 cups boiling water until tender. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the water.

Cut off the tips, chop them and reserve.

Put the chicken stock, onion, and reserved water in a pan and bring to boil. Add the asparagus and simmer for 5 minutes.

Put through a strainer or vegetable mill or puree in a food processor or an electric blender. Return to the pot and add the milk or cream and salt and pepper to taste. Reheat and adjust the seasonings.

Before serving, sprinkle with reserved chopped tips.
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Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 8 Calories; trace Fat (3.4% calories from fat); trace Protein; 2g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 1mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Vegetable.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Canyon Ranch Berry Fruit Crepes

Canyon Ranch Berry Fruit Crepes

2 eggs
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tsp canola oil
1 cup whole-wheat flour

1 cup lowfat ricotta cheese
3 tbsp powdered sugar (or 2 tbsp honey)
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups fresh organic* berries, such as blueberries, blackberries or sliced strawberries, or a mixture of berries

In a medium bowl, beat eggs until smooth. Add milk, salt, 1/4 cup oil and flour and mix well, until mixture resembles thin pancake batter.

Heat 1 tsp oil in a nonstick sauté or crepe pan over medium heat. Pour 3 tbsp batter into the pan and immediately tilt and gently rotate the pan to coat the entire bottom. Cook until the edges begin to turn brown and the top is firm to the touch. Loosen edges and flip crepe. Cook 15 to 20 seconds more and remove. Repeat for remaining crepes.

To keep crepes warm, place on a plate and cover with a kitchen towel.

Combine ricotta, sugar, zest, and cinnamon in a medium bowl and mix well. Place 1 crepe on a flat surface. Spread 1 heaping tbsp filling in center of crepe. Top with 2 tbsp berries and roll. Repeat for all crepes.

*Canyon Ranch uses organic berries because conventionally grown ones contain high amounts of pesticides. In addition, organic berries have higher levels of flavonoids (cancer-fighting substances) than conventional ones. Nutritional analysis per serving (2 crepes): 280 calories, 14 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 28 g carbohydrates, 12 g protein, 14 g fiber
Makes 6 servings.
SELFJune 2003 © CondéNet, Inc. All rights reserved

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Penne with Zucchini and Ricotta

Penne with Zucchini and Ricotta

Recipe By : Cooking Light Magazine

Serving Size : 6

1 package penne (tube-shaped pasta) -- (16-ounce)
3 garlic cloves -- peeled
2 pounds small zucchini -- halved lengthwise and cut diagonally into 1/2-inch slices (about 7 cups)
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese -- (1 ounce) divided
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

Cook pasta and garlic in boiling water 7 minutes; add zucchini, and cook 3 minutes. Drain well; discard garlic cloves. Place pasta mixture in a large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons Parmesan, oil, marjoram, salt, and pepper; toss well to coat. Drop ricotta by tablespoonfuls into pasta mixture; toss well. Sprinkle each serving with Parmesan.

Ricotta Hotcakes

Ricotta Hotcakes

Recipe By : Nigella Lawson

9 ounces ricotta cheese -- part skim milk -- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons
1/2 cup milk -- skim
2 whole eggs -- separted
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
2 teaspoons oil

Combine ricotta, milk and yolks; mix well. Stir flour, powder and salt together and add to ricotta mixture.

Beat egg whites till foamy with whisk, fold into ricotta mixture.

Heat oil in pan, drop in batter by spoonfuls and cook 1 min, flip and cook till done on other side. Serve with syrup.

Source: ""Nigella;' Forever summer'""

Monday, May 08, 2006

Carribean Chicken Marinade

* Exported from MasterCook *
Caribbean Chicken

1/2 cup pineapple juice, frozen concentrate -- thawed
1/4 cup lime juice
zest of 2 small limes
1/4 cup brown sugar -- firmly packed
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons molasses
a few dashes habanero tabasco sauce (to taste)
6 chicken breast, no skin, no bone, R-T-C

Combine pineapple juice, lime juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, water, molasses, and red pepper in a shallow glass dish or zip lock bag until sugar is dissolved. Add chicken; cover dish or close bag. Marinate in refrigerator up to 6 hours, turning once.
Grill chicken, covered, over medium coals, 10 to 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.
Source: "lvs2cook on Recipezaar" - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

To make a basting glaze, double the marinade. Before putting chicken in, pour half the marinade into a saucepan and boil for about 20 minutes or so, stirring frequently. Allow to cool, and use the reduction to baste while cooking.

Martha's Coconut Cake

Coconut Cake

Makes one 9-inch square cake. Feel free to use 9-inch round pans if you do not have square pans. The baking time will be the same.

3 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for pans
3 1/2 cups flour, plus more for pans
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup packed sweetened, shredded coconut
2 2/3 cups sugar
4 large whole eggs, plus 4 egg whites
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
Seven minute frosting
Coconut curls or toasted coconut for garnish

Preheat oven to 350º. Butter two 9x9x2 inch cake pans; line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter parchment, and dust with flour, tapping out excess, set aside. Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Pulse shredded coconut in a food processor until finely chopped. Stir chopped coconut into the flour mixture until combined; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. One at a time, beat in the eggs, egg whites, and vanilla; incorporating each egg fully before adding another. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in two parts, alternating with the coconut milk and beginning and ending with the flour, beat until combined after each addition.

Divide batter between prepared pans, and smooth with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until cakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 30 minutes. Invert cakes onto the rack; peel off the parchment. Reinvert the cakes and let them cool completely, top sides up.

Using a serrated knife, trim the tops of the cake layers to make them level. Place on layer on a cake and top with 1 1/2 cups seven minute frosting. Place other cake layer on top, cut side down. Using an offset spatula, spread remaining frosting over entire cake, swirling to cover in a decorative fashion. Sprinkle entire cake with coconut curls or toasted coconut as desired. Cake can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

**My notes: I used Baker's Joy spray instead of butter, flour, and parchment to grease the pans. I also opted for the toasted coconut, which adds a really great flavor. The seven minute frosting is a perfect compliment to this cake. The recipe follows:

Seven Minute Frosting

Makes about 8 cups

1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
6 large egg whites
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine sugar, corn syrup, 1/4 cup water, and the egg whites. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until themixturee reads 160º on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes.

Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the mixture on high speed until glossy and voluminous, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, use immediately.


Saturday, May 06, 2006

Basil Shrimp with Feta and Orzo

Basil Shrimp with Feta and Orzo

1 regular-size foil oven bag
Cooking spray
1/2 cup uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta) (I used 3/4 cup to empty a box)
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 cup diced tomato
3/4 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (I used the juice of 1 whole lemon)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Preheat oven to 450°.

Coat inside of oven bag with cooking spray.

Place the bag on a large shallow baking pan.

Cook the pasta in boiling water 5 minutes, omitting salt and fat; drain. Place the pasta in a large bowl. Stir in 1 teaspoon oil and next 7 ingredients (1 teaspoon oil through pepper). Place the orzo mixture in prepared oven bag.

Combine shrimp and basil. Arrange shrimp mixture on orzo mixture. Fold edge of bag over to seal.

Bake at 450° for 25 minutes or until the shrimp are done. Cut open bag with a sharp knife, and peel back the foil. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil.

Yield: 2 servings (serving size: 1 cup orzo and about 5 ounces shrimp)

CALORIES 498(26% from fat); FAT 14.4g (sat 5.5g,mono 5.1g,poly 1.9g); PROTEIN 38.8g; CHOLESTEROL 219mg; CALCIUM 258mg; SODIUM 817mg; FIBER 3.4g; IRON 6.5mg; CARBOHYDRATE 52.7g Cooking Light, MARCH 2000

Monday, May 01, 2006

Beef and Cheese Manicotti

Beef and Cheese Manicotti

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

4 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 pound ground beef
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
14 (8-ounce package) manicotti
1 (15-ounce) container whole-milk ricotta
3 cups shredded mozzarella
1 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups marinara sauce
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

Heat a heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, onion and ground beef. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until the meat browns and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and cool.
Brush 1 teaspoon of oil over a large baking sheet. Cook the manicotti in a large pot of boiling salted water until slightly softened, but still very firm to the bite, about 4 to 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the manicotti from the pot to the oiled baking sheet and cool.
Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, 1 1/2 to 2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and parsley. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper to taste, and mix. Stir the cooled meat mixture into the cheese mixture.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Brush the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil over a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Spoon 1 1/2 cups of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Fill the manicotti with the cheese-meat mixture. Arrange the stuffed pasta in a single layer in the prepared dish and spoon the remaining sauce over.
Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese, then the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan over the stuffed pasta. Dot entire dish with the butter pieces. Bake the manicotti uncovered until heated through and the sauce bubbles on the sides of the dish, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let the manicotti stand 5 minutes and serve.

Lemon-Yogurt Fritters

Lemon - Yogurt Fritters

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 Cup yogurt -- plain, whole milk
2 large eggs
3 Tbs fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon’s worth)
1 Tb honey
1 Tb vegetable oil -- such as canola, plus more for frying
Powdered sugar -- for serving

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.
In another medium bowl, combine the granulated sugar, yogurt, eggs, lemon juice, honey, and 1 Tbs of the oil, whisking until smooth and well combined. Add the flour mixture, and gently fold and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Do not overmix. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate the batter until chilled, about 1 hour.
When you are ready to fry, pour oil into a wide heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven to a depth of about 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until its temperature reaches 325 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer. Scoop the batter by scant ¼ cupfuls—I used a heaping two-tablespoon ice cream scoop—into the hot oil, and fry, about 3 or 4 at a time, turning occasionally, until the fritters are deep golden brown all over, about 5 to 6 minutes per batch. Transfer the finished fritters with a slotted spoon or spider to a large plate lined with paper towels. Repeat the process with the remaining batter.
Dust the fritters with powdered sugar while still warm, and serve.
Yield: About 15 fritters


2 sticks Grade AA butter
2 cups half & half
2 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 cup light Karo corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla (extract or real work interchangeably here)

In a 3 quart nonstick saucepan, slowly melt your butter over low heat. Stir occasionally to keep your butter from separating. Add the half & half, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Raise your heat to medium and stir constantly to blend your ingredients. Stir constantly until the sugars have dissolved completely. At that point it is safe to walk away for just a second- but not for long. Stirring constantly is preferred from here on out. Raise the heat to medium high. Once your mixture starts boiling, carefully clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Boil and stir constantly until your mixture reaches 244º. (This could take as long as 45 minutes- and not particularily recommended for humid days). At 244º your mixture will be at soft ball stage, and is perfect for dipping caramel apples. However, if you let your mixture go to 248º, it will make perfect caramels for eating.

For dipping apples, remove your pan from the heat at 244º and add the vanilla. Stir like crazy until it is incorporated, and continue stirring until it stops boiling and bubbling away. Turn your burner as low as it will go, and place your pot back on the burner. Working quickly, dip your apples in caramel- shaking off the excess. You will need to move quickly, and stir between each apple to keep the caramel from over-cooking and separating. If you wish to add candies, etc. to your apples, place the hot apples into the desired toppings and pat them onto the apple, taking care not to burn yourself.

For caramels, have a 9" square baking pan lined with foil and buttered (or use Reynold's Release for perfect results everytime). At 248º remove the caramel from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Stir until completely incorprated and pour into the foil lined pan to firm up. Once cooled and set, cut into individual pieces and wrap with wax paper.

Remember- hot sugar is dangerous. Boiling sugar even more so- but the flavor is so much better than you could ever get from unwrapping a store-bought caramel. It's well worth the effort. One batch of caramel will dip about 15 apples give or take a few, depending on the size of the apples.