Sunday, October 31, 2010

Painted Pumpkins

I feel like last year I went all out for the fall season.

I had a great experience carving a Krystal Burger on my pumpkin. I also decorated my home early for fall. I was definitely on the ball. This year I had a few obstacles. I hosted a themed bridal shower (not fall), I had a couple of weddings to attend and I traveled to Vegas for business. There was little time for fall decorating. So instead of taking time I didn't have to carve pumpkins, I decided to spray paint my pumpkins. 

There are a couple of advantages to this: time and longevity. It takes a few minutes to spray paint your pumpkins. For those of you who are artists, spray painting your pumpkins could be a great way to experiment with graffiti. I am no such artist so I kept it simple.

Another huge perk is that the pumpkin lasts longer than a few days. You put so much time into carving the pumpkin and then you're lucky if it lasts two days before the actual pumpkin looks scarier than the carving.

Busy career girls don't always have the time to go all out to decorate. However, it doesn't mean you can't find some simple ways to  join the season. Even if it's a little late.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes


Most of the time my husband is sending me pictures from his great locations that he travels to on business trips. This time it's payback.

I knew I was going to be in Vegas this week on business. (sorry its been a couple of days since I've posted) So I decided to make myself a farewell dinner that was more for my husband than for myself.   I was at a baby shower for most of my Saturday but I decided to make a meal that would make up for the fact that I wouldn't be here this week.  Then add some friends to the mix and it makes for a great Saturday night.
 I used some beautiful short ribs I had purchased at the grocery and braised them. On the side, I decided to make twice baked sweet potatoes. The one complaint I have with sweet potatoes is that the flavors are never balanced well. They always lend towards the sweet than the savor. So I created a recipe that included butter, mascarpone, and pecorino romano cheese - just the perfect recipe to dangle in front of your spouse when you are going to be away for a while.

Twice Baked Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
4 large sweet potatoes
6 oz mascarpone
2 oz unsalted butter
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano Cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Bake sweet potatoes at 350 degrees for about 45 - 50 minutes or until cooked through. Take out of the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Cut potatoes in half and then scoop out the sweet potato (leave the skin and shell) and put in a mixing bowl with mascarpone, butter, cheese and salt and pepper. Use a potato masher and mix the sweet potato mixture together. Add back into the potato skin with a spoon (or put in a piping bag with a large tip) Bake at 350 degrees for another 20 minutes.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fall Felt Wreath


Normally I love to decorate for fall but I fell a little behind this year. And since we spend the holidays with my family, I have a strict November 1st Christmas decorating schedule. I basically needed an easy craft project to show fall had arrived at my house.

Recently I came across this great blog post from The Pretty Poppy about how to make a cute felt wreath in the shape of roses. While I loved the idea of a white rose wreath, I needed a fall wreath. So I raided my felt collection to find the appropriate fall colors. Instead of cutting circles out of the felt and constructing a rose, I decided to cut different sizes of 1 inch wide (about 5 inches long) and 1/2 inch strips of felt and roll them.  You get a neat effect of different sizes. Get a glue gun and then glue the ends of the felt and then glue the felt to the wreath. Since its fall it's very appropriate to leave some of the grapevine showing.  It's an easy way to decorate for fall.

Now about Christmas....That's another story so stay tuned.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Florida Dinner Party Part 3 - Scallops with Dulce de Leche Sauce

This is the last installment of a great dinner party we had with some great friends. It originated as a post for the Project Foodblog Competition but ended up as a wonderful night to spend time with friends.

This appetizer recipe is inspired by a favorite restaurant that my husband and I love to visit when we are in South Beach. The Blue Door at the Delano has a menu of amazing dishes that are modern french inspired with a south florida twist. It's the first restaurant we make sure to get a reservation when we travel there.

My favorite dish by far is their Scallops Docedeleite. They are perfectly seared scallops with a dulce de leche sauce. The problem with recreating it is that it can get too sweet. So I added a little Sriracha sauce to give it a little kick. It's also a good idea to make sure to balance the flavors with salt and pepper as well. Thankfully Bon Appetit helped with a simple dulce de leche sauce that made this a perfect appetizer to serve at your next dinner party.

Seared Scallops with Dulce de Leche Sauce
8 Scallops (2 per person)
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp  Sriracha

Combine whipping cream and brown sugar together in a saucepan on medium heat until it reduces to about a cup. Add the condensed milk and Sriracha. Take off the stove and cool.

Dry your scallops and season them with salt and pepper. Put in a saucepan with a couple of tbsp of olive oil on medium high heat and sear 1-2 minutes on each side. Plate your scallops by making a pool of sauce on the plate and placing the scallops on top or drizzle the sauce over the scallops.


Monday, October 18, 2010

A Nesting Themed Bridal Shower



When I think of the idea behind Made by You Mondays, sponsored by the blog Skip to my Lou, a recent bridal shower I hosted for a friend goes along perfectly. 
 

When you are planning a wedding there are certain things that get lost along the way. Sometimes it's your original color scheme, the idea of what your gown will look like or your hair-style based on how you imagined it in your head vs. what is practical in real life. 

A very great friend of mine was planning her wedding and a group of us knew that she didn't go with her original color scheme due to time of year. So a group of us got together and threw her a nesting shower in the original color scheme she had dreamed of. She is the sweet type of bride who cares more about others feeling than her own and is the first to offer to help plan someone's baby shower or wedding shower when it's needed. I wanted this shower to be special for her and her fiance because of all the good they have done for others. This project was a labor of love for all involved and it was as personalized as we could get it. From the table runner with their initials to the embroidered underlay and the handmade corsage we wanted her to have everything she wanted.

 


The theme was "Nesting" (brought to you by the Nesting Project blog...Ha!) as we were inviting all their friends and family to help them feather their nest. We tried to keep with the theme as much as possible with little birds and nests everywhere. And when I mean "everywhere" I mean it. (including the chandelier!) We even used a birdhouse and little cards so that everyone could write their advice or best wishes and stick them into the birdhouse. This was standing next to the favors. The favors were little groups of bulbs (An idea I cannot take credit for but am happy to pass it along) with a little note to the guest that said, "As the happy couple's love will continue to grow, please plant these bulbs in your garden in remembrance of this love. "


Now let's get to the food! While deviled eggs aren't my favorite, we kept them on the menu for the overall theme. However, I'm never content on keeping with the same old recipe so I decided to make them with Sriracha to give them a little kick. My best friend brought her husband's sausage stuffed mushrooms to the event which were perfect.  My favorite culinary touch was the mini wedding cakes made from Nigella Lawson's Fairycake recipe. (double batch for 6 cakes)






Nesting Shower Menu
Sriracha Deviled Eggs
Chicken Salad in mini croissants
Sausage stuffed mushrooms
Rosemary mixed nuts
Tomato & Mozzarella on Rosemary skewers
Caesar salad in Wonton cups
Baked Brie with Fig Jam
Mini Wedding Cakes with Royal Icing
Pimm's Cup Punch

Favors
Bulbs

Corsage
Fabric corsage with burlap leaves






Nesting Project Decor
Bird's Nests
Doves (Spray Painted Robin's Egg Blue)
Burlap (underlay to the table runner)
Monogrammed Table Runner (also a present for the happy couple)
Red Roses
Clear rectangle vases (Spray Painted Robin's Egg Blue)
Birdhouses
Hand Stamped Blue Napkins







When it came to decor, I bought some spray paint, got out my hot glue gun and had a blast. I had some white grapevine I had bought on sale ages ago that I bought to good use by wrapping t around my wrought iron chandelier. I spray painted the white doves and eggs in robin's egg blue and then hot glued them to the grapevine. We also placed the nests and doves around on the food table.

We thought that red roses and blue vases would be the best use of the color scheme. Good luck finding such a vase when you need it. I decided to spray paint some rectangle clear vases I found at the craft store. I couple of coats and you would never know they weren't bought that way.  Lastly, the table runner was a gift for the bride and groom and we had it monogrammed for them. To bring the Nesting theme into it we bought burlap as an underlay to the table runner and then embroidered "Nest" on it. Just a little personal touch that made all the difference.

In many ways this bridal shower was a gift for someone else but forced me to channel creativity I didn't know I had. It was a collaboration of all the wonderful and creative ideas that I see and find out in the blogosphere . So thanks to everyone for such a great event. The shower was a huge success.

Recipes

Sriracha Deviled Eggs
1 dozen hard boiled eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp Sriracha
1 tbsp mustard (spicy or regular)

Cut all the hard boiled eggs in half and remove the yolk into a mixing bowl. Add the mayonnaise, Sriracha and mustard. Add salt and pepper to taste. Put in a piping bag or a ziploc bag with the corner cut off. Pipe the filling into the egg white. Garnish with a dusting of chili powder.

Wonton Cups
To make the wonton cups take wonton wrappers and mold them into a muffin tin. Bake at 350 degrees for about 5-7 minutes or until crisp but not burned (and they hold their shape) Add your caesar salad lettuce mix.

Chicken Salad
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup spicy mustard
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup pecans chopped
6 large chicken breast halves
Salt and pepper to taste

Poach the chicken breasts in boiling water (in a large pot) until completely cooked (20 minutes). Let cool then chop or shred the chicken in a large bowl. Add the mayonnaise and mustard and toss in the cranberries and pecans. Salt and pepper to taste. Spread in mini crossaints.



Tomato Mozzarella Rosemary Skewers
2 pints Grape Tomatoes
1 lb boccacino mozzarella
20 Rosemary branches



Take the Rosemary branches and remove 2/3 of the rosemary leaves from the branch. Then starting with a tomato push onto the branch. Then alternate with the mozzarella and so on until the end. Dust with Italian season and a little salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a balsamic vinaigrette on the side.

Pimm's Cup Punch
1 part Pimms
2 Parts Lemonade
1 part Seltzer

The night before get a bundt pan and add lemonade half way. Add mint leaves and fresh raspberries. Put in the freezer overnight. Add all the other ingredients for the punch. Take out the lemonade ring and dip the pan in hot water. (to get the ring out of the pan) and then pop it into the punch bowl.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Berbere Flavored Chili

Sometimes situations force you to discover new recipes you would have never found otherwise. 

Recently I competed in Project Foodbuzz and in one of the challenges I cooked a traditional Ethiopian meal. In order to cook a traditional Ethiopian meal an essential ingredient is their spice mix called Berbere. In my research I found that this spice mix is something they use on all different kinds of meats as a rub. So having this knowledge and a good amount leftover spice mix, I decided to use it in my chili recipe.

This idea is somewhat risky because my husband loves my chili recipe but the spice mix gave the chili another dimension of flavor that brought it to another level. So now that it's fall, this new recipe is in the rotation. Bring on the cold weather.

Chili with Berbere Spice Mix
1 1/2 lb of stew beef
2 Harvest Moon Beers
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp of Berbere Mix
 1 cup chicken broth
3 cans black beans, drained
1 onion diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz tomato paste

Sprinkle 1/4 cup Berbere over the stew beef until its coated. In a dutch oven on the stove top, fry the beef in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil until all sides have a crust and are cooked on each side.  Remove the meat and add the garlic and onion. Saute until they are soft and translucent. Pour the beer and deglaze the pan. Add the beef back in and the chicken broth. Add the 2 tbsp of the Berbere and tomato paste then bring to a boil. Reduce down to a simmer for about 2 hours. After 2 hours add in the black beans for about 15 minutes to warm the beans.  Garnish with cilantro and shredded cheese.

Berbere Spice Mix
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 cup ground dried Serrano chilies or other ground dried chilies
  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom, preferably freshly ground
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Combine all the ingredients. Store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Shaved Brussels Spout Salad with Dried Pineapple

I have a theory about people who are picky eaters or just don't like certain foods. If you don't like something it's probably because it wasn't made correctly for you the first time. Take Brussels Sprouts for instance. I still haven't met anyone who likes them. I had no opinion of them (my father was a somewhat picky eater that got us out of a lot of different vegetables) until I came across a recipe for them from Barefoot Contessa. They were roasted and it looked like a great recipe. When I told my husband his face looked like I had just told him he had to work for the next 20 years, digging ditches. Once he tried the roasted Brussels Sprouts and found out they didn't have to taste like slimy overcooked vegetables, my theory started to take shape.

So, because I do like Brussels Sprouts and the hubby is on board, I thought there might be an opportunity for a warm fall salad. So I used my handy mandolin and shredded a bag of fresh Brussels Sprouts. I sauteed them in a skillet with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper just until they were just cooked. (5 minutes) Then I put the Brussels Sprouts over baby lettuces with dried pinepple and a lemon vinaigrette. Serve on the side or add chicken and make it a meal.

It felt like a great transition salad as we make our way to the colder months and I get another excuse to feed my husband Brussels Sprouts. Payback!




Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad with Dried Pineapple
15 medium sized Brussels Sprouts (approx 1 mesh bag in the produce aisle)
1 1/2 cups dried pineapple (cranberries would also work well)
2 bags mixed baby lettuces or salad mix of your choice
Juice of 1 lemon

On the thinnest setting, use your mandolin, food processor or your knife and shred the Brussels Sprouts. Cook with 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Cook about 5 - 10 minutes until bright green but make sure not to cook too long. Pour the lemon juice over and season with salt and pepper. Layer the Brussels Sprouts over the salad mix and toss with the dried pineapple (cranberries would also work well and be a great for the holidays)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Chocolate Cake with Caramel and Honey Crunch Filling

You can only promise to make a chocolate cake for so long until it's time to pay the piper. In my chocolate raspberry puff pastry bites post I offered an easier version of a chocolate dessert in lieu of promised chocolate cake. Then it comes to the moment when hubby asks for the 10th time, "So what about that chocolate cake?," and then its time to suck it up and make the cake.

So I decided to try one of the delicious cakes in the new Martha Stewart Living. It had caramel in the middle with chocolate cake and chocolate icing. The only unfortunate thing about some Martha Stewart recipes is that they tend to have a lot of ingredients and many different steps. No doubt you will end up with a great end product but its easy to zone out before you even start to make it. In that vein, I decided to change the recipe a wee bit. It may be sacrilege but when your making an overdue chocolate cake on a Friday night after a very long week at work, you do what it takes to get you through it. These are my small changes:
  • I substituted the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda for self-rising flour
  • Instead of baking the cake in one large pan and slicing it into three small layers, I poured it into two 9 inch pans and reduced the baking time
  • I did not want to make the special milk chocolate crunch so I decided to add Honey Bunches of Oats clusters instead (classy right?)
  • Lastly if I were to do it over again, I would use the chocolate icing recipe off the Hershey cocoa box. Its easier and more delicious.


In any case it turned out well and I don't have plans to hear the phrase, "What about that chocolate cake?" for a while.


Chocolate Cake with Honey Crunch and Caramel Sauce

Cake
1 1/2 cups self rising flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla

Crunch
1 cup Honey Bunches of Oat Clusters

Caramel Sauce
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 tsp vanilla


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour (2) 9 inch round cake pans. Sift flour, cocoa powder, and sugar. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Beat with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. Bake until toothpick comes out clean. 20-25 minutes.

Make the caramel sauce - bring granulated sugar, cream, corn syrup and butter to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Cook until mixture registers 236 degrees on a candy thermometer or until light golden brown (around 10 minutes) Immediately remove from heat. 
Assemble the cake - pour slightly (mixture will be warm but not hot) cooled caramel sauce on top of one of the cake layers. Top with the Honey Bunches of Oat clusters. Place the other cake layer on top and spread frosting over the entire cake.


    A Florida Dinner Party - Part 2


    When it comes to dinner parties I always figure in an escape plan for all of my dishes. Sometimes I wish I had an escape route for myself. I'll plan a menu, but something always comes up. You can plan the most intricate prep plan in the world but I guarantee you, there will be times where you'll have to change your game plan.

    Like say, for instance you were planning to do an amazing recipe from your Epicurious IPhone App.  It goes perfectly with your menu and you know it will be a great dessert. Let's say, said dessert is Key Lime Cannoli with Mango puree. The hitch in this recipe is the making of the cannoli which in this case was a cookie-like cannoli that you bake, take out of the oven and then place on cannoli molds. This is something that can be time consuming if you have a bang your head on the desk challenging week at work. Who really wants to mold all those cannoli?

    My escape plan was puff pastry. Instead of the cannoli shells I decided to use puff pastry. I cut them into squares and then cut a 1/2 inch border on two opposing corners (not all the way) and then folded each to the other side. It creates a little puff pastry basket to cradle the key lime mascarpone filling.

    It was a delicious way to end my Florida Dinner Party.

    Key Lime Mascarpone in Puff Pastry with Mango Puree (Adapted from Gourmet 1999)
    • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
    • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lime zest
    • 4 tablespoons bottled Key lime juice or 5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    • 1 cup mascarpone cheese (about 1/2 pound)
    • 1 package Puff pastry
    • 3 ripe mangoes (each about 3/4 pound)
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
    • 1 tablespoon superfine sugar, or to taste
    Make the mango puree -
    Peel and cut flesh from mangoes, discarding pits. In a blender or food processor purée mango with remaining ingredients until smooth. Force purée through a fine sieve into a bowl. Sauce may be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered.

    Bake the puff pastry shells - Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the puff pastry with a little flour.  Cut 4 squares of each (Do 8 in total) Starting in the middle of one side of the square, cut a 1/2 inch border to the middle of the next side (one corner of the square). Repeat on the diagonal corner. Take the border and place on the diagonal. Repeat with the second side. Brush the puff pastry squares with a beaten egg. Put in oven for 20 minutes until puffed and golden brown.

    Make filling:
    In a bowl with an electric mixer beat cream cheese with sugar, zest, and lime juice until smooth and beat in mascarpone. Chill filling, covered, until firm, at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.
    Assemble dessert:
    Whisk filling and transfer it to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain or decorative tip. Carefully pipe filling into puff pastry baskets .  Put mango sauce into a squeeze bottle or drizzle about 1/4 cup mango sauce onto each of 6 dessert plates, tilting plate to distribute sauce evenly.

    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    Carrot Cake Pancakes

    I've had a great time experimenting with different flavors of pancakes this year. From Banana-Strawberry Pancakes to Coconut-Almond pancakes, I've tried all types of different ways to spice up the standard pancake. 

    With the fall season here to stay, I recently made Pumpkin Waffles and decided to continue to look at some other fall ideas. This is how I came up with my Carrot Cake Pancakes. It's not a new idea, but the flavors of a Carrot Cake always make me think of fall. Maybe it's the combination of nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon (the trinity of fall flavors) that made me want to try this idea.

    In any case, someone can only eat blueberry pancakes for so long. So through this blog, I cannot urge you enough to try to translate your favorite fall flavors into a pancake idea. It will make your weekend breakfast that much more fun and exciting. As always, make sure you have self-rising flour (to cut out the need for baking powder, baking soda and salt) and buttermilk (my favorite ingredient for pancakes). The less necessary ingredients you have to worry about, the more interesting ones you'll be able to add.



    Carrot Cake Pancakes
    2 cups self-rising flour
    2 cups buttermilk
    2 eggs
    1 cup brown sugar
    3 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp ginger
    1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
    2 1/2 cups grated carrot
    1 cup walnuts

    Grate the carrots (about 3-4 medium carrots). Add the flour, buttermilk, eggs, sugar and spices and whisk until smooth. Add the grated carrots and stir until incorporated.  Cook your pancakes in a pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Pour in 1/2 cup batter and sprinkle the walnuts on top. Push the walnut down so they sink into the pancake. Then flip your pancake. Add some maple cinnamon butter on top.

    Maple Cinnamon Butter
    1 stick (1/2 cup of butter)
    3 tbsp of Maple syrup
    2 tsp cinnamon

    Combine the butter, syrup and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix until completely incorporated. Place the mixture on a sheet of wax paper and form it into a log and place it in the refrigerator to set a little. Slice the butter and place on top of the pancakes or toast.

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010

    A Florida Dinner Party - Part I

    Dinner parties can be tricky.

    I have two ways I normally go when planning a dinner party: A small sit-down dinner or a larger amount of guests and a buffet. In the last year, I've done the latter far more than a small sit-down dinner. So I thought I would change that and have some friends over - another couple who are from Florida. I always try to get a theme in my head of what I want to serve.  It's not necessary but it always organizes the details in my head better. In this case, the guests determined the theme: Florida. More specifically I wanted to showcase the flavors of South Florida. This in itself is a tricky statement. South Florida is influenced from so many cultures from Cuban to the Caribbean.  Take these flavors and pair it with great seafood and it's a great meal.

    So as I did some research I came to an amazing recipe: Cod with Coconut, Lime, Lemongrass and Curry Broth on Epicurious.com.  I loved the idea and decided to use it. The other great thing, is that I knew I could make the broth (which held all of the wonderful flavors) ahead of time and then all I had to do was cook the fish right before we ate. Its these little details that help a host stay sane and keep everything on track. No one wants a host that's stuck in the kitchen.

    Later after looking at the recipe countless times, I realized in small type that it was Eric Ripert's recipe...

    No pressure.

    Thankfully we had an amazing meal and everything turned out fine. The flavors of curry, lemongrass, coconut milk and lime combined to create a perfect dish. It made me wish I was back in Florida. Then again that was the point.

    The Sauce:
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
    • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
    • 1 lemongrass stalk, thinly sliced
    • 1-inch knob ginger, thinly sliced
    • 3 kaffir lime leaves
    • 1 tablespoon Madras curry
    • 3 cups chicken stock
    • 3/4 cup fresh coconut milk, or canned
    • 4 cilantro sprigs
    • Fine sea salt to taste
    • Freshly ground white pepper to taste
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
    The Cod: 
    • 2 tablespoons canola oil
    • 4 7-ounce cod fillets, 1 1/2-inches thick
    • Fine sea salt to taste
    • Freshly ground white pepper to taste

    Preheat the oven to 400°F.
    To make the broth, melt the butter in a small sauté pan or wok over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, kaffir lime leaves and curry and sweat until tender and with no color, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat simmer for 15 minutes. Add the coconut milk and cilantro, and simmer for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Strain through a fine chinois and set aside. 

    Divide the 2 tablespoons of canola oil between the skillets. Place over high heat until oil is just smoking. Season the cod on both sides with salt and pepper. Put 2 pieces of cod in each skillet and sauté until golden brown and crusted on the bottom, about 2 1/2 minutes. Turn and sear on the other side for 30 seconds. Put the pans in the oven and roast until a metal skewer can be easily inserted into the fish and, when left in the fish for 5 seconds, feels hot when touched to your lip, about 6 to 7 minutes.

    Jicama Papaya Salad:
    1 Jicama
    1 Papaya

    Use a mandoline or your knife to slice both into matchsticks.  When plating put a handful of the salad underneath the fish and ladle the broth over both.

    *as in above photo - Cod could be substituted for sea bass.








    Sunday, October 3, 2010

    Pumpkin Waffles


    I've always said how much I love making breakfast on the weekends. In the fall, I seem to be revitalized when I can add pumpkin to pancakes and waffles. However, trying to mimic the flavors of pumpkin pie into a waffle or a pancake can lead to a very long tiresome ingredient list. When I find these recipes, I look at it like a foodie challenge and try to be able to make it usable for the career girl. 

    I found an amazing recipe for pumpkin waffles from Gourmet. For the original longer recipe click here. What I did was to swap out the flour for self-rising flour which also took out the salt and baking powder. For the spices I swapped out pumpkin pie spice instead of the individual components (i.e. cloves, ginger and cinnamon)  The result was another great weekend breakfast which was made from scratch but simplified at the same time. If it's just the two of you, you'll also have enough batter for both Saturday and Sunday morning.


    Pumpkin Waffles (Adapted from Gourmet)
    • 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
    • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 3 1/4 tsp of pumpkin pie spice
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1 cup whole milk
    • 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
    • 1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
    • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
    • Vegetable oil for brushing waffle iron
    Preheat oven to 250°F and preheat waffle iron.
    Sift together flour and spices.
    Whisk eggs in a large bowl until blended, then whisk in milk, buttermilk, pumpkin, and butter until smooth. Whisk in dry ingredients just until smooth.
    Brush waffle iron lightly with oil and spoon batter (about 2 cups for four 4-inch Belgian waffles) into waffle iron, spreading quickly. Cook according to manufacturer’s instructions.
    Transfer waffles to rack in oven to keep warm and crisp. Make more waffles in same manner.

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