Monthly Archives: February 2014

Cocoa Horchata Martini

Have you tried RumChata yet? Where has this stuff been all my life? I first heard about it last year when a bartender asked my friends and I if we wanted to try a certain cinnamon whiskey with some RumChata.  We all had the same questionably curious looks on our faces since we had absolutely no clue what she was talking about or what she had even said.  RumChaWhat? Well, I’ve had it enough times since that night to know that this belongs in my liquor cabinet and close to my heart.  And this Cocoa Horchata Martini is an easy, delicious way for you to try it if you’ve never had it before.

RumChata, a liqueur made of horchata (rice, cinnamon and sugar) and rum, is mixed with crème de cacao and chocolate milk to make for the perfectly creamy, cinnamon, chocolatey after dinner drink. RumChata alone is a yummy after dinner drink but when mixed with chocolate, it also becomes dessert.  This martini bestills my RumChata-dreaming, chocolate milk-loving heart.

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                        In a small bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder. Whisk to combine, then spread onto a shallow dish. Fill another shallow dish with 1/4 inch of water.

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Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add RumChata, creme de cacao and chocolate milk. Cover and shake until chilled.

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Dip 2 martini glass rims in water and edge each glass in cocoa-sugar. Divide martini into prepared glasses.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Chocolate almond milk

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Family Circle magazine

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Crab Cakes with Spicy Remoulade

Oh crab cakes…how I both love and hate thee.  As I mentioned last week when I posted this shrimp recipe, it took me a while to eat crab.  I wanted to like crab cakes but each time I tried them, I couldn’t get past the fishiness.  Well, now I’m completely hooked and eat them pretty often so I officially love them.  What I hate about them is making them at home.  Does anyone else struggle with crab cakes like me?  It never fails, but my crab cakes always fall apart, no matter if I follow the recipe to a tee.  Argh!  Some of these Crab Cakes with Spicy Remoulade fell apart but they were awesome regardless.

Crab meat is made tasty with bell pepper, scallions, egg, panko, and mayonnaise before being cooked in a little bit of oil until golden and crispy.  A creamy remoulade of mayo is spiced up with cayenne pepper which is not only fantastic with these crab cakes, but also with anything else you want to add a little zing to.  Even though I expressed quite a few expletives as I made these crab cakes and vowed never to try to make them at home again, it all subsided once I took my first bite.  These crab cakes are light and full of flavor, thanks mostly to the scallions, and the spicy sauce is a perfect little addition. I’d love to make these again but I guess next time I’ll do some yoga, drink some tea, or meditate a bit before attempting to flip crab cakes again.

If you like this, also check out Crab Cakes with Spicy Mustard Sauce.

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To prepare crab cakes, drain crabmeat on several layers of paper towels. Combine crabmeat, bell pepper, and the next 4 ingredients (through egg), tossing gently. Stir in 1/4 cup panko. Place remaining 3/4 cup panko in a shallow dish.

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Divide crab mixture into 8 equal portions. Shape 4 portions into 3/4-inch-thick patties; dredge in panko.

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Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Add dredged patties; cook 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove from pan. Repeat procedure with the remaining crab mixture, panko, and oil.

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To prepare rémoulade, combine 1/4 cup mayonnaise and remaining ingredients; serve with crab cakes.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:

  • Capers
  • Tarragon

Substitutions:

  • Light mayonnaise

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

Roasted Potatoes with Arugula-Pistachio Pesto

I can’t help it but I love the Olympics. As much as it reminds me of how amazingly physically inferior I am to other people, I still love to root for my country and feel one with other Americans.  That being said, part of me is sad to see it end but happy to see it go. Two weeks is just long enough before some of us are ready to get back to regular programming of Chicago Fire and Grimm. Unless you are like me and have already jumped on the Netflix bandwagon and have devoured the entire second season of House of Cards only a day after the episodes were released. I have no self control. But that’s what happens when Netflix releases the whole season at once…it’s like letting a kid run wild in the Hershey chocolate factory.  Um…when will the third season be coming out? Anyone? I’ve officially tortured myself.  Anywho…at some point between watching the Olympics and my gazillionth episode of House of Cards, I have made these Roasted Potatoes with Arugula-Pistachio Pesto. Luckily, they were easy and not very time consuming.

Roasted fingerling potatoes are tossed in a quick, simple and tasty pesto made of peppery arugula and salty pistachios. Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and garlic help round out the flavors in this pesto which was so good, I used leftovers to top a turkey burger. This pesto would be good on nearly anything – any sandwich, any salad, any French fry, or any random vegetable.  I don’t eat potatoes much but when I eat them like these, I wonder why. These potatoes were amazing. I actually couldn’t wait until my next meal to eat them again. Sad but true. Please, try these.

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Place a jellyroll pan in oven. Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine potatoes and 1 tablespoon oil in a medium bowl; toss well.

Arrange potatoes in a single layer on preheated pan. Sprinkle potatoes with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes; toss potatoes. Bake an additional 25 minutes or until tender, stirring every 10 minutes.

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Combine remaining 3 tablespoons oil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, arugula leaves, Parmesan cheese, pistachios, 2 teaspoons water, lemon juice, and garlic in a food processor; process until smooth.

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Combine arugula mixture and hot potatoes in a medium bowl; toss well.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

Citrus-Glazed Shrimp

You are witnessing my first attempt at ever making shrimp. As you may know, I’m not the biggest seafood fan. I’ve grown to love crab cakes and like some mild fish but I’ve been trying to like shrimp for a very, very long time. So far, I like the kind in restaurants that is batter dipped and fried (of course). But I’ve also had jumbo shrimp cocktail that I enjoyed also. So why is it that I’m struggling liking these little crustaceans any other time? I’ve been gathering shrimp recipes for a while now but could never pull the trigger at making them. Finally, I decided it was time to give these Citrus-Glazed Shrimp a try.

Uncooked peeled and deveined shrimp are mixed with garlic, lime, chipotle chile powder, salt and pepper and sautéed until pink and cooked through. Fresh lime juice and butter are added creating a silky, citrusy glaze. The garlic and lime add a fresh tone to these shrimp and the chipotle gives them the slightest kick. These guys have tons of flavor and were a good start at me becoming more comfortable with shrimp. I have to admit that I didn’t eat all of these and still struggle with the texture of shrimp. But I think I’m getting there slowly but surely. If you like shrimp even a little, I bet you’ll love these.

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Combine shrimp, garlic, lime rind, 1/4 teaspoon salt, chile powder, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl, tossing to coat shrimp.

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Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add shrimp to pan; sauté 3 minutes.

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Stir in lime juice and butter; cook 1 minute, tossing to coat.

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Remove from pan.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

Chocolate-Cherry-Almond Smoothie

Every once in a while I become obsessed with certain foods and eat them constantly. I’ve been through brownie batter fits, black bean burger rages and trail mix binges. Recently, I’ve been on an almond milk kick. I’m not really the biggest milk drinker in general and only have it in the house if a specific recipe calls for it or if I have a box of cereal. But lately, I’ve been drinking almond milk, both plain and chocolate, like it’s going out of style. I decided the chocolate almond milk was begging to be mixed with the bag of frozen cherries I’ve had in my freezer for a while now and despite the fact that I’m always cold and am still dealing with 11 inches of snow from the other day, I wanted to make a smoothie. This Chocolate-Cherry-Almond Smoothie completely knocked my winter socks and slippers off.

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Cherry Greek yogurt, chocolate almond milk, frozen cherries, and a dash of almond extract are blended together until smooth making for a rich, sweet and satisfying smoothie. Regular milk and regular yogurt could be substituted here but I really love the thickness of the Greek yogurt and the added hint of flavor the almond milk provides. The chocolate almond milk adds just the right amount of chocolate which pairs so perfectly with the bright cherries. With 1 gram of fat and 14 grams of protein, this smoothie is perfect for breakfast, an after workout drink or satisfying enough for dessert.

Chocolate-Cherry-Almond Smoothie (makes 1 smoothie)

  • 1/2 cup non-fat cherry Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate almond milk (I used Silk)
  • 1 cup frozen dark sweet cherries (fresh pitted cherries may be used instead, just add ice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

Combine all the ingredients into a blender and blend on high for 30 seconds. Add ice if necessary to reach your desired thickness. Top with a cherry and chocolate shavings (if desired).

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Poached Egg and Arugula Salad Bruschetta

This might be a little embarrassing for me to admit but I’ve never poached an egg before. The primary reason for this, as I’ve mentioned before, is I didn’t start eating runny yolks until recently. Now that I’m really starting to understand the runny yolk goodness (or dippy egg as my friend calls it), there was no longer a reason to not attempt the poached egg. I really love Eggs Benedict but it’s the hollandaise sauce, not the poached egg, that makes me weary about making it at home. This Poached Egg and Arugula Salad Bruschetta is a perfectly simple recipe for a first-time egg poacher to try at home.

Fresh arugula is tossed with a simple shallot/Dijon mustard/white wine vinaigrette, draped over browned baguette slices and topped with crispy, crumbled bacon and a perfectly poached egg. The vinaigrette is light and the arugula’s peppery flavors pair so perfectly with the creaminess of the runny yolk and poached egg white. The bacon (I used turkey bacon) adds just another layer of flavor but vegetarians will be just as impressed with this even without the bacon. I’m a big brunch person and a big egg person but I honestly didn’t expect to love this dish as much as I do. I could easily eat this for brunch every weekend, hands down.

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Combine shallots, oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper, stirring with a whisk.

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Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat (or pre-heat broiler). Lightly coat both sides of each bread slice with cooking spray. If using grill, add bread to grill pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until toasted. If using broiler, place bread on sheet pan and broil both sides until desired brownness (about 3 minutes each side).

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Add water to a large skillet, filling two-thirds full; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; add remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar to pan. Break eggs into custard cups. When water cools to a simmer, gently pour eggs into pan; cook 3 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Carefully remove eggs from pan using a slotted spoon.

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Place 2 toast slices on each of 4 plates. Add arugula to oil mixture; toss. Arrange about 1 cup arugula mixture on each serving; sprinkle evenly with bacon.

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Top each serving with 1 egg. Serve immediately.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Turkey bacon

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Double Nut Butter Sandwich Cookies

Do you have Girl Scouts sitting at the door of your grocery store asking you to buy cookies? I do. Last year, they were also waiting for me as I came off of the commuter train after work but so far, there has been no sign of them there. I’m all for the Girl Scouts but honestly, I dread seeing their cute little faces and perky attitudes. These little people tap into my interior weakness and I almost crumble. I have no self control and WILL EAT THEM ALL if I buy them! So after saying “No, thank you” to the adorable Girl Scouts, how do I explain the fact that I made these Double Nut Butter Sandwich Cookies which rival the Girl Scouts’ Do-si-dos and taste like no other cookie I have ever made? I can’t explain it. But these cookies are amazing.

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Almond butter and oatmeal make up the soft, chewy cookies, while peanut butter and powdered sugar create the creamy center filling. To make this truly nutty all the way around, use almond milk in the filling in place of regular milk (either one will work perfectly).

I took these cookies to work because they were so good, I very easily could have eaten every single one by myself in one sitting. Luckily, some people at work took some off my hands and I got nothing but compliments. If I could make cookies for a living everyday, I’d be happy. So why am I working in finance instead of in a bakery? Probably for the same reason I say no to the Girl Scouts but then turn around and make these cookies at home. Because I torture myself and I’m seriously losing it.

Double Nut Butter Sandwich Cookies (makes approximately 24 sandwich cookies)

For cookies:

  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup almond butter (or peanut butter)

For filling:

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4-5 tablespoons milk or almond milk

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a bowl, combine oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

In another large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together butter and both sugars until well combined. Add egg, vanilla, and almond butter and mix. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Drop dough by tablespoon full onto a cookie sheet and bake in a 350°F oven for 8 minutes (cookies may not appear to be done but that’s okay). Remove cookies from oven and let rest on the cookie sheet for 4-5 additional minutes (they will finish cooking). Move to a cooling rack to cool.

While cookies bake, prepare the filling by combining butter, peanut butter, and vanilla until creamy.  Add the powdered sugar and milk. (Add enough milk to bring it to a frosting-like consistency.)

Once cookies have cooled, spoon a tablespoonful of filling into the center of half of the cookies. Top with remaining cookies.

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