December 1, 2008
I am not sure where the requirement to have something green on your plate came from. I am sure it was born out of the minds of June Cleaver and Mrs. Brady. I know I do not have to adhere to this archaic rule but when writing the Thanksgiving menu, there was a nagging thought in my head. “You don’t have anything greeeeen” the sing songy voice mocked. Fine, I gave into Mrs. Cleaver and put creamed spinach on the menu. I had something green alright but it was bathing in a sauce of creamy goodness and topped with crispy shallots. Not your mother’s idea of fulfilling the healthy requirement but so good.
Recipe courtesy of my tv boyfriend Tyler Florence. Tyler if you are reading you are on my 5 people list. Wink wink.
- 3 pounds spinach
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Wash the spinach in several changes of water to get rid of any grit. Drain the spinach but keep some of the water clinging to the leaves. Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the spinach and garlic. Cook, turning frequently, until the spinach has wilted down evenly. Remove the garlic and put the spinach into a colander and let it drain well. Press out as much liquid as you can from the leaves and chop them coarsely.
Heat the skillet again over medium-high heat and add the cream and nutmeg; cook until it reduces a bit, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the spinach is hot, about 5 more minutes. Serve immediately.
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
To prepare the shallots: Fill a deep saucepan with about 2 inches of vegetable oil. Heat over medium heat until a deep-fat thermometer reads 360 degrees. (Alternatively, use an electric deep-fat fryer). Toss the shallots with the flour in a large bowl, to coat. Transfer to a strainer and shake to remove the excess flour. Add the shallots to the hot oil and cook until golden
December 1, 2008
There are some recipes I make that are a testament to my love for my husband. (See post on peanut butter) This corn soufflé recipe is one of those. The recipe has been in Alex’s family for quite some time. The problem is it uses creamed corn. I have many issues but one of my cooking related ones is texture. In my opinion, creamed corn has a horrible texture and looks like what pigs throw up. If any of the evil corn gets on my hands, I will behave like the girl from Willy Wonka, that wants the golden egg, and throw the biggest tantrum in the world. But, I will continue to make this dish year after year and continue to get creamed corn splatter on my hands every year. Why you ask? I am a sucker for my husband. That man has got my number.
And now that I have made this dish oh so enticing, I will provide the recipe. I promise it is much better than the ingredients give it hope to be. Everyone that eats it loves it. I have yet to try it. Here’s hoping for next year.
Recipe courtesy of Alex’s Mama. Slight variations can be found all over that internet thing
1 stick of butter melted
8oz Sour Cream
1 14.5 can of regular corn drained
1 14.5 can of the evil corn (creamed corn)
1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Mix all the ingredients.
3. Pour into an 8×8 pan. I used a loaf pan. I like it better that way.
4. Cook for 60 minutes or until golden brown or a knife comes out clean.
October 31, 2008
I am a bit of a scaredy cat. When I say scaredy cat, what I actually mean is, I am terrified of anything remotely frightening. Witches, ghosts, zombies, vampires, the dark, the list goes on and on; I have many irrational fears that come into their glory on Halloween.
These almost paralyzing fears made for quite the time trick or treating. Once, I actually threw fruit from my Carmen Miranda costume, at what I thought was a threatening Axe murder, turns out he was our neighbor. Our very friendly, until being beamed with an apple, neighbor.
So the combination of my fear and my desire for chocolate resulted in the complete exploitation of my sister. She was younger, smaller and sometimes cuter sometimes. She made the perfect sacrificial lamb. When we would come across a scary house, which I defined as almost every house that was decorated, I would send my sister in. She would bravely walk to the door, handling every ghost or goblin that came her way and ring that doorbell. I would then swoop in and get my candy along side her, free from the terror that she faced.
So my sister, this post and all of its Halloween goodness is for you. For the years of taking care of your big sister, helping her collect as much loot as you, and most importantly, keeping her from running away in terror, screaming and crying infront of her neighborhood crush. I owe you one.
(Video Instructions from the Martha Stewart Show)
1 13X9 baked cake (from a box cake mix or from scratch … any flavor) I used Chocolate
1 can cream cheese frosting (or about 2 cups equivalent from scratch) I used Vanilla
1 flower shaped cookie cutter (1.25″ wide X .75″ tall) Not needed for Halloween pops
1 package chocolate bark I used 1 package white melts and one orange melts
1 package pink candy melts or white chocolate bark
bowls for dipping
sprinkles, m&ms or something similar for top of cupcake
small plastic treat bags and ribbon to package the Cupcake Pops
candy cups and truffle boxes to individually package the Cupcake Bites
- Bake a cake from a mix or from scratch and cool completely.
- Crumble cake into a fine consistency into a large bowl.TIP: If the texture is too coarse, you can run it through a food processor.
- Add can of cream cheese frosting or homemade frosting and blend together using the back of a large spoon. Blend thoroughly.
- Roll mixture into 1.25″ – 1.5″ size balls and lay on wax paper covered cookie sheet. You may want to periodically rinse and dry your hands off in between. This is where you would make your ghost, mummy, and pumpkin shapes.
- Cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for several hours.TIP: You can speed this up by placing in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
- Remove. Begin to shape into cupcakes using a small flower-shaped cookie cutter. (see below) Take the chilled ball and roll it into more of an oval and then slide into cookie cutter. Push it into cutter until about half fills the cutter and the rest sticks out of the top in the shape of a mound. Then push the shaped cupcake carefully out of the cookie cutter from the bottom. Set right side up on a wax paper covered cookie sheet. Continue with remaining balls.
- Once shaped, cover and return to freezer. (5-10 minutes)TIP: You can leave them covered in the refrigerator overnight if you want to do the dipping on the following day.
- While cupcake shapes are chilling, begin to heat up your chocolate bark.
- Brown chocolate bark for the bottoms. Pink or white chocolate for the tops.
- Follow the instructions on the package for melting. Most recommend heating for 30 second intervals at a time and stirring in between. You can also do the double boiler method
- When you are ready to dip, remove from freezer and set up another wax paper covered cookie sheet.
- Take the cupcake shaped mixture and dip bottoms into the melted chocolate – just to the point where the mounded shape starts. Remove from chocolate, turn upside down and wiggle so that the excess starts to slide down slightly. Then lay on the wax paper upside down. If you want them to be lollipops, then go ahead and insert the lollipop sticks while the chocolate is still wet. Continue with rest of the cupcakes. You can also leave some without the sticks. They’re just as cute as Cupcake Bites. TIP: Dip end of your lollipop stick in the melted chocolate before inserting into chocolate bottoms. Not sure if this helps a lot, but it couldn’t hurt.DON’T – get water in the chocolate. Make sure your hands are completely dry. Water will cause the chocolate to separate and mess up all your hard work.
- Dry completely. (15-20 minutes)
- Once dry, dip the tops of the cupcakes in the pink or white chocolate. You may need to move it around a little to cover all the exposed areas.
TIP: Let the pink chocolate sit for a few minutes after heating to thicken. This will help it from dripping down the sides of the cupcake.
- Remove from the pink/white chocolate and turn right side up. You may need to hold and rotate it if there is any excess so that it doesn’t drip down too far.
TIP: You can use a toothpick to help cover any areas the melted chocolate didn’t cover.
- For the Cupcake Bites – just turn right side up and rest on the wax paper. Then go ahead and put a m&m on the top and add sprinkles while wet.
- For the lollipops, Continue holding and place an m&m on the top and add sprinkles. Let them dry in a styrofoam block that you have already poked holes into.
- When completely dry, cover the lollipops with small plastic treat bags and tie with a ribbon.
- For the Cupcake Bites, place in a candy cup and package in small candy truffle boxes to present individually.
Makes about 50.
You can store these in an airtight container and they will last for several days. You can also store in the refrigerator if you would like them cold.